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The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 THE ROAD TO DISUNION.

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Presentation on theme: "The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 THE ROAD TO DISUNION."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 THE ROAD TO DISUNION

2 FOCUS QUESTION: In a short reply of one to three sentences, respond to the following prompt: When is it appropriate to disobey the law?


4 COMPROMISE OF 1850 Arose from California Gold Rush and Statehood California enters as a free state Utah and New Mexico become two territories, free to choose status. Maryland given veto over banning slavery in D.C. Slave trade banned in D.C. Stricter Fugitive Slave Act adopted




8 THE FUGITIVE SLAVE ACT Part of the Compromise of 1850 Designed to protect property rights of Southerners Tightened up the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 Intended to counter the Underground Railroad

9 ACTIVITIES OF THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD Assisted escaping slaves in the U.S. Illegal group of abolitionists and sympathizers Helped conduct several thousand fugitive slaves to freedom

10 ORGANIZED RESISTANCE Specific roles on the route Many known as “conductors” Set up secret meeting places, or “stations” Organized into small groups to avoid discovery

11 FUGITIVE SLAVE ACT OF 1850 Designed to stop these activities Federal commissions for fugitive slave cases Cases heard by commissioners, not juries Alleged slaves could not testify Simple affidavit enough to reclaim a “slave”

12 IMPACTED MARSHAL SERVICE Federal Marshals required to assist slave hunters Could deputize bystanders on the spot Refusal to help was made a felony

13 INFURIATED THE NORTH The Wisconsin Supreme Court declared the Act unconstitutional (overturned) Many states passed Personal Liberty Laws Laws stressed that residents of those states did not have to abide by the Fugitive Slave Act “Nullified” the Act Purpose?

14 LED TO INCREASED CONFLICT Southerners distrusted the North “Refused to meet constitutional obligations” Northerners had slavery brought home Forced to participate Saw the growth of the “Slaveocracy.”

15 CRACKS IN THE COMPROMISE The Fugitive Slave Act enflamed Northern opinion Assaulted ideas of personal liberty Assaulted ideas of fair play Used by Abolitionists Reaction to the Act infuriated the South Would the “Free” states continue to abide by the Constitution? What protections existed for their “property”?

16 HOMEWORK Read The American Pageant, “Popular Sovereignty” to “Balancing the Compromise.. “ pp. 390-401”Early Abolitionists” to “Abolitionist Impact” pp. 362-38.

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