what were the fugitive slave act of 1850, fugitive slave law of 1793, and the personal liberty laws?
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The Slave Law of 1793 and Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 were Federal laws that allowed for the arrest and removal of alleged fugitive slaves with only minimal evidence presented by the master or master's agent claiming a person as a fugitive.
Many northern states adopted various laws, generally known as "personal liberty laws, " that were designed to prevent the kidnapping of free blacks as well as to provide a fair process for the return of actual fugitives. The kidnapping of a number of free black children in Philadelphia, some of whom were never returned to their families, led to the passage of Pennsylvania's 1826 law. Most of the early state laws required clearer evidence that the person arrested was actually a fugitive slave. The laws also gave alleged fugitives greater procedural rights. Pennsylvania's law of 1826, for example, required that any one removing a black from the state as a fugitive slave first obtain a certificate of removal from a state judge, justice of the peace, or alderman. Other laws, like Vermont's act of 1840, specifically guaranteed that an alleged fugitive be given a jury trial. While these laws provided protection for free blacks and procedural rights for actual fugitives, they also contained language and provisions that allowed claimants to turn to the states for enforcement of the fugitive slave law. Under these laws, for example, state officials could issue arrest warrants for fugitives and incarcerate them during a trial to determine their status.