Talk:Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

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Untitled[edit]

Note that the Slave states had little problem with this violation of state's rights, one of the purported reasons for their succession and the establishment of the Confederate States of America, since it was pro-Slavery.


Does anyone but me think that some people in the north would have actually helped with the catching of the slaves?


As I once read it elegantly put (by James McPherson): States' Rights was a means to an end, not an end in itself; the South loved Federal power, as long as they controlled it.--172.190.130.58 (talk) 17:57, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Two different laws split them[edit]

Split the 18th and 19th century laws. --Rakista 05:39, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

Expand[edit]

The legislative history of this law, as well as a rundown on the voting, needs to be included. Until this has been done, then please don't remove the {{expand}} tag. --Zantastik talk 07:29, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Edit[edit]

The slaves were given a mock-trial, its just that the commissioner was given $10 if he sent the slave home and $5 if he declared his freedom. It was because of this that many free blacks were claimed by slave hunters. wburglett 5:55 7 May 2007 GMT -5

Slaves Escaping to Canada[edit]

The text suggests that only a few hundred slaves made it to Canada in the 1850s. This does not match the Underground Railroad article, which suggests several thousand escaped slaves made it to Canada. I took out "Only a few hundred runaways made it to Canada in the 1850s." until the two articles can be reconciled. Agoodall 20:46, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Background[edit]

The last line of paragraph one in this section has a gross inaccuracy. it states, "It sought to force the authorities in free states to return fugitive slaves to their masters. In practice, however, the law was rarely enforced." The last segment of "... the law was rarely enforced.", is not true. Not only was the law regularly, and eagerly enforced, it was also profitable by reason anyone returned as a fugitive slave, whether they were fugitive or not, were bought back at $10.00 a person. It became a source of income for low income whites in the north who had racist attitudes of hate toward the Blacks of the time in their city/area, and it also created a new industry of slave bounty hunters. If you don't know what you are talking about when it comes to Black people(Afrimericans)in America, and American History, you should refrain from the acts of pretending to know, doing such is covert racism exposed. AFRIMERICAN August 28, 2007

Most objectionable features[edit]

Should mention the two features which opponents of the law found most unjust:

1) The federal commissioner was more or less forbidden from factually and evidentially examining the question of whether or not the person was actually a slave. The federal commissioner could basically only decide whether or not the person in custody was the same person who was named in the papers, and whether or not the paperwork was filled out correctly. The person accused of being an escaped slave was not allowed to testify in his own defense, there was no right to a jury, etc. So there was no defense against false accusations (something which the Supreme Court decision Prigg v. Pennsylvania had also not worried too much about).

2) The federal commissioner was paid $5 if he cleared the person accused of being a slave, but $10 if he convicted him -- something which was widely seen as a kind of bribe... AnonMoos (talk) 16:14, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Law vs. Act[edit]

Wasn't this (as well as its 18th-century predecessor) more commonly known as the "Fugitive Slave Act"? Until I saw this article today I had never heard it referred to as the "Fugitive Slave Law". Good Ol’factory (talk) 04:30, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

Lucy Bagby[edit]

There are hundreds if not thousands of instances of fugitive slaves being prosecute under the act. A few examples are sufficient for this article. I removed this example as it was redundant and had weaker sourcing than the Bruns and Jerry examples. I suggest not reinserting the example unless there is something especially notable about this case which would warrant inclusion.Wkharrisjr (talk) 19:36, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

I am going to go put more references in -- it is more helpful for scholars to have information than to have editors who delete ideas for them to follow. Vickberg (talk) 11:14, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

It's not necessarily more references, its a matter of undue weight and too many examples of the same idea. Is there something special about the Bagby case that deserves more attention than the Jerry or Burns cases? If the Bagby example is retained, then perhaps one of the other examples should be edited out.Wkharrisjr (talk) 13:17, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

I see your point about the other two notes, but in this case, it's not just that Bagby is important but also that the beauty of the Web, rather than print, is that there are no space constraints. All of these cases are different and meant different things to different communities. There is no reason to select if there are no space constraints. There are two more important ones I was going to add in addition to Bagby. Vickberg (talk) 15:03, 29 June 2011 (UTC)


By the way, I'm not sure that fugitive slaves could be said to be "prosecuted" under the law (if they had been, they would have had more rights)... AnonMoos (talk) 12:00, 10 September 2011 (UTC)