Tag Archives: 1850s

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

Laws which assured slave owners that runaway slaves would be returned had been in force since the ratification of the Constitution. Indeed, the Constitution required such laws. Decades later, however, many of these laws were unenforced in northern states and abolitionists actively helped runaway slaves flee ever northward to freedom. Slave owners, as part of the Compromise of 1850, pushed for the adoption of stronger fugitive slave laws. One section of the law is below.
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Defending Slavery in the Old South

This 1857 article by George Fitzhugh¬† (“The Blessings of Slavery”) was a prime example of the assertion that slavery was not a necessary evil (as many in earlier generations had believed) but rather a positive good–both for whites and the African American slaves they owned. Many writings, such as this one, appeared to counter increasing abolitionist sentiment in the US during the 1850s.

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