Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

Fugitive Slave Act of 1850?

what did it basically do?

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    A statute passed by Congress that provided for the seizure and return of runaway slaves who escaped from one state into another or into a federal territory.

    Under this law fugitives could not testify on their own behalf, nor were they permitted a trial by jury. Heavy penalties were imposed upon federal marshals who refused to enforce the law or from whom a fugitive escaped; penalties were also imposed on individuals who helped slaves to escape. Special commissioners were to have concurrent jurisdiction with the U.S. courts in enforcing the law. The severity of the 1850 measure led to abuses and defeated its purpose. The number of Abolitionists increased, the operations of the Underground Railroad became more efficient, and new personal-liberty laws were enacted in many Northern states. These state laws were among the grievances officially referred to by South Carolina in December 1860 as justification for its secession from the Union. Attempts to carry into effect the law aroused much bitterness and probably had as much to do with inciting sectional hostility as did the controversy over slavery in the territories.

  • 1 decade ago

    It gave slaveowners enormous powers to call on federal help in recovering escaped slaves. Under the law, no black person was safe. Only an affidavit was needed to prove ownership. Even the expenses of capturing and returning a fugitive slave were to be the responsibility of the federal government. Accused fugitives were not entitled to a jury trial and couldn't defend themselves. And citizens who concealed, aided, or rescued fugitives were subject to harsh fines and imprisonment. Suddenly, free blacks, many of the presumably safely established for years in northerntowns, were subject to seizure and transport back to the South.

  • 1 decade ago

    It was a compromise between the North and the South. It required any Federal Marshal or official to arrest alleged run away slaves with no evidence except the owner's sworn testimony.

  • 1 decade ago

    This act required Northern states to hand over slaves that had escaped from their masters and gone North. It had varying degrees of success, as many Northern states refused to comply and would forcibly prevent slaves being returned.

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  • Hector
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    It made free states capture and return slaves who ran away from their owners.

  • 1 decade ago

    Kept slavery alive maybe.

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