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Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

Act of the United States Congress / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Fugitive Slave Act or Fugitive Slave Law was passed by the United States Congress on September 18, 1850,[1] as part of the Compromise of 1850 between Southern interests in slavery and Northern Free-Soilers.

Quick facts: Long title, Enacted by, Citations, Publi...
Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAn Act to amend, and supplementary to, the Act entitled "An Act respecting Fugitives from Justice, and Persons escaping from the Service of their Masters", approved February twelfth, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three.
Enacted bythe 31st United States Congress
Public lawPub. L. 31–60
Statutes at Large9 Stat. 462
Legislative history
Major amendments
Repealed by Act of June 28, 1864, 13 Stat. 200
An April 24, 1851 poster warning the "colored people of Boston" about policemen acting as slave catchers.

The Act was one of the most controversial elements of the 1850 compromise and heightened Northern fears of a slave power conspiracy. It required that all escaped slaves, upon capture, be returned to the enslaver and that officials and citizens of free states had to cooperate. Abolitionists nicknamed it the "Bloodhound Bill", after the dogs that were used to track down people fleeing from slavery.[2][page needed]

The Act contributed to the growing polarization of the country over the issue of slavery. It was one of the factors that led to the American Civil War.