Most of the enslaved people helped by the Underground Railroad escaped border states such as Kentucky, Virginia and Maryland. In the deep South, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made capturing escaped enslaved people a lucrative business, and there were fewer hiding places for them.
How was the Underground Railroad related to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850?
It was developed by abolitionists and slaves as a means of escaping the harsh conditions in which African Americans were forced to live, and ultimately to assist them in gaining their freedom.
What was the Fugitive Slave Act and what did it do?
Fugitive Slave Acts, in U.S. history, statutes passed by Congress in 1793 and 1850 (and repealed in 1864) that provided for the seizure and return of runaway slaves who escaped from one state into another or into a federal territory.
What impact did the US Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 have on the Underground Railroad?
Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 Part of Henry Clay’s famed Compromise of 1850—a group of bills that helped quiet early calls for Southern secession—this new law forcibly compelled citizens to assist in the capture of runaways.
What caused the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad was established to aid enslaved people in their escape to freedom. The railroad was comprised of dozens of secret routes and safe houses originating in the slaveholding states and extending all the way to the Canadian border, the only area where fugitives could be assured of their freedom.
How did the US fugitive Act impact runaway slaves?
Passed on September 18, 1850 by Congress, The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was part of the Compromise of 1850. The act required that slaves be returned to their owners, even if they were in a free state. The act also made the federal government responsible for finding, returning, and trying escaped slaves.
Where did the Underground Railroad lead to?
Underground Railroad routes went north to free states and Canada, to the Caribbean, into United States western territories, and Indian territories. Some freedom seekers (escaped slaves) travelled South into Mexico for their freedom.
How did the Underground Railroad lead to the Civil War quizlet?
How did the Underground Railroad cause the Civil War? *The Underground Railroad was a escape route for fugitive slaves in America. *Slaves would be helped by Northerners or “Quakers” who help slaves escape to Canada. *John Brown believed that this would bring an end to slavery.
When did Underground Railroad happen?
system used by abolitionists between 1800-1865 to help enslaved African Americans escape to free states.
Fugitive Slave Acts
Runaway slaves were captured and returned to their owners under the terms of the Fugitive Slave Acts, which were a set of federal statutes passed in 1850 and 1851, respectively, in the United States. The original Fugitive Slave Act, passed by Congress in 1793, empowered local governments to catch and return fugitive slaves to their owners while also imposing penalties on anybody who assisted them in their escape. Widespread opposition to the 1793 statute resulted in the enactment of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which expanded the number of rules applicable to runaways and imposed even harsher penalties for interfering with their arrest or capture attempts.
What Were the Fugitive Slave Acts?
Runaway slaves were captured and returned to their owners under the terms of the Fugitive Slave Acts, which were enacted by Congress in 1850 and 1854, respectively. The original Fugitive Slave Act, passed by Congress in 1793, empowered local governments to apprehend and return fugitive slaves to their owners while also imposing penalties on anybody who assisted them in their escape. As a result of widespread opposition to the 1793 legislation, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed, which expanded the protections for runaways and imposed even harsher penalties for anyone who interfered with their apprehension.
Fugitive Slave Act of 1793
However, even after the Fugitive Slave Clause was ratified into law in the United States Constitution, anti-slavery feeling persisted in most of the Northern United States during the late 1780s and early 1790s, with many petitioning Congress to abolish the institution entirely. Ultimately, Congress approved the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, in response to increased pressure from Southern legislators, who believed that the slave question was causing a wedge between the newly constituted states. Many of the provisions of this decree were identical to those of the Fugitive Slave Clause, but it offered a more thorough description of how the legislation was to be put into effect.
- In the case that they apprehended a suspected runaway, these hunters were required to take them before a judge and present documentation demonstrating that the individual was their property.
- A $500 fine was also levied on anybody who assisted in harboring or concealing fugitives under the terms of the statute.
- Northerners were outraged at the prospect of their states becoming a hunting ground for bounty hunters, and many contended that the law amounted to legalized kidnapping in the first instance.
- Most Northern states refused to be implicated in the system of slavery and, as a result, they purposefully ignored to enforce the legislation.
They even enacted “Personal Liberty Laws,” which granted alleged runaways the chance to stand trial in front of a jury and also safeguarded free blacks, many of whom had been seized by bounty hunters and sold into slavery.
Prigg v. Pennsylvania
It wasn’t until the 1842 Supreme Court case Prigg v. Pennsylvania that the validity of Personal Liberty Statutes was called into question. After capturing a suspected slave in Pennsylvania, Edward Prigg, a Maryland man, was charged with kidnapped and sentenced to prison. The Supreme Court found in Prigg’s favor, establishing the precedent that federal law trumped any state actions that sought to interfere with the Fugitive Slave Act, as interpreted by the Court. Despite landmark judgements such as Prigg v.
As early as the mid-nineteenth century, thousands of enslaved individuals had fled to free states through networks such as the Underground Railroad.
Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
Because of rising pressure from Southern lawmakers, Congress amended the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 and approved a new version the following year. This new rule, which was enacted as part of Henry Clay’s renowned Compromise of 1850—a set of laws that helped quell early aspirations for Southern secession—forcibly required individuals to aid in the arrest of runaway children. Moreover, it removed the right to a jury trial from the hands of enslaved people and increased the punishment for interfering with the rendition process to $1,000 and six months in prison.
- They were compensated more for returning a suspected runaway than they were for freeing them, prompting many to believe the legislation was prejudiced in favor of slaveholders in the Southern United States.
- As a result, states such as Vermont and Wisconsin developed additional legislation aimed at circumventing and even nullifying the rule, while abolitionists stepped up their efforts to help runaways.
- On rare occasions, the resistance erupted into riots and revolutions.
- Similar rescues were carried out in the following years in New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Repeal of the Fugitive Slave Acts
Widespread resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 resulted in the statute becoming essentially unenforceable in several Northern states by 1860, with only around 330 enslaved persons successfully returned to their Southern masters. Despite the fact that Republican and Free Soil members periodically filed measures and resolutions relating to the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act, the statute remained in effect until after the outbreak of the Civil War.
It wasn’t until a joint resolution of Congress passed on June 28, 1864, that both of the Fugitive Slave Acts were abolished.
Fugitive Slave Acts
Historically, the Fugitive Slave Acts were two pieces of legislation established by Congress in 1793 and 1850 (and repealed in 1864) that allowed for the capture and return of fugitive slaves who escaped from one state into another or into a federally administered region. The 1793 legislation carried out Article IV, Section 2 of the United States Constitution by permitting any federal district judge or circuit court judge, as well as any state magistrate, to determine the legal status of an accused fugitive slave without the need for a trial by jury.
- These laws established that fugitives who challenged an initial ruling against them were entitled to a jury trial.
- The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a system of transportation that allows people to flee their homes.
- Weber (c.1893).
- LC-USZ62-28860) Quiz on the Encyclopedia Britannica This quiz will examine the history of slavery and resistance.
- Who was the leader of the mutiny of 53 enslaved individuals on the Spanish slave ship Amistad that occurred in 1839?
- Take the quiz to find out.
Under this rule, fugitives were not permitted to testify in their own defense, nor were they given the opportunity to stand trial before a jury.
In addition, under the 1850 statute, special commissioners were to have concurrent jurisdiction with the United States courts in the enforcement of the law.
There was a rise in the number of abolitionists, the Underground Railroad activities grew more efficient, and new personal-liberty legislation were established in several Northern states during this period.
The attempts to put the legislation of 1850 into action sparked a great deal of animosity and were very certainly responsible for stoking sectional antagonism as much as the debate over slavery in the territory.
The Library of Congress’s Printed Ephemera Collection is located in Washington, D.C.
Portfolio 22, Folder 12b) A period of time during the American Civil War was regarded to be a period of time during which the Fugitive Slave Acts were still in effect in the instance of Blacks fleeing from masters in border states that were loyal to the Union authority.
It wasn’t until June 28, 1864, that the acts were finally overturned by the legislature. Those in charge of editing the Encyclopaedia Britannica Adam Augustyn was the author of the most recent revision and update to this article.
1850 Fugitive Slave Act · The Underground Railroad · The Underground Railroad in the Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana Borderland
Slave catchers should be on the lookout for African Americans residing in Boston. After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, the number of slave escapes skyrocketed. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which was intended to prevent slave escapes, had the opposite effect. After 1850, the number of people who escaped from Kentucky climbed by 53 percent. The Fugitive Law, according to one Underground Railroad agent, “has boosted the stock on some of our Western routes, by at least 50 to 75 percent,” according to a statement made in 1855.
- According to news sources, the flight of slaves resembled a stampede.
- Similar legislation passed in 1793 gave slaveholders the ability to retrieve slaves while also requiring states to aid them in their efforts.
- According to the court’s decision, state officials were banned from intervening with fugitive slaves.
- The 1793 Fugitive Slave Law was declared illegal by the Supreme Court, and only federal officers were authorized to execute it.
- According to the 1850 Runaway Slave Act, federal officials were authorized to abduct any African American suspected of being a fugitive.
- Anyone of African descent might be accused of being a slave by agents.
- The word of a slaveholder was regarded adequate evidence that the individual in issue was the runaway in question.
The legal consequences for anyone who help fugitives or impede the law in any way were more severe, with a $1000 fine per fugitive and six months in jail being the most severe penalties.
The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 not only increased the number of escapes in the South, but it also caused many fugitives residing in the Ohio Valley Borderland to travel even further north.
As hundreds of formerly enslaved people dreaded being recaptured, black populations in Indiana and Ohio declined.
According to theLouisville Courier, “.the Fugitive Slave Law cannot be implemented in Ohio and is unlikely to be enacted in the future.” After 1850, slave catchers appointed by the federal government patrolled the Ohio River on a regular basis in search of fugitives.
Agents utilized harsh tactics to abduct and imprison every African-American they came into touch with while acting under federal authority.
Three agents from Washington County, Ohio, were abducted and carried to Virginia, where they were imprisoned for assisting fugitives in 1845.
A word of caution to runaway slaves.
Hudson, Fugitive Slaves, Fugitive Slaves, See p. 83 for information on slaveholder gatherings. According to the Louisville Couriernews, page 5064. The Frontline, pages 107-108. Griffler, Frontline. Hudson’s Fugitive Slaves, Volume 85. Griffler,Frontline,82-83.
The Underground Railroad – Lincoln Home National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service)
When we talk about the Underground Railroad, we’re talking about the attempts of enslaved African Americans to earn their freedom by escaping bondage, which took place from the beginning of the Civil War to the end of the war. In every country where slavery existed, there was a concerted attempt to flee, first to maroon communities in remote locations far from settlements, then across state and international borders. Runaways were considered “fugitives” under the rules of the period because of their acts of self-emancipation, albeit in retrospect, the term “freedom seeker” appears to be a more fair description.
It’s possible that the choice to aid a freedom seeking was taken on the spur of the moment.
Freedom seekers traveled in a variety of directions, including Canada, Mexico, the United States West, the Caribbean islands, and Europe.
The Fugitive Slave Acts
Until the end of the Civil War, enslavement in the United States was considered lawful and acceptable. In contrast to the rhetoric of the Revolutionary War era about freedom, the new United States constitution safeguarded the rights of individuals to possess and enslave other people, including women. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 further reinforced these slaveholding rights, allowing for the return to captivity of any African American who was accused or simply suspected of being a freedom seeker under certain circumstances.
It was a $500 punishment for anybody who supported a liberator or just interfered with an arrest, a clear recognition of the significance and lasting influence on American society of the Underground Railroad phenomenon decades before it was given its official name.
Individuals in the North were brought face to face with the immoral issue by the spectacle of African Americans being reenslaved at the least provocation and the selling of abducted free African Americans to the South for slavery.
Those who aided freedom seekers in their attempts to flee were considered members of the Underground Railroad. “Buy us too,” says H.L. Stephens in his parting words. The Library of Congress is a federal government institution that collects and organizes information.
Motivation of Freedom Seekers
Time period, geographic location, kind of agriculture or industry, size of the slaveholding unit, urban vs rural environment, and even the temperament and financial stability of the enslaver all influenced the degree to which people were enslaved. All of these experiences have one thing in common: the dehumanization of both the victim and the oppressor as a result of the demands of a system that treats human beings as property rather than as individuals. This element, probably more than any other, helps to explain why some people opted to escape and why their owners were frequently taken aback by their actions.
Many people were able to flee because they had access to knowledge and abilities, including reading, which gave them an advantage.
The slaves rebelled despite the fact that the slavery system was intended to train them to accept it.
Geography of the Underground Railroad
Wherever there were enslaved African Americans, there were those who were desperate to get away. Slavery existed in all of the original thirteen colonies, as well as in Spanish California, Louisiana, and Florida, as well as in all of the Caribbean islands, until the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and the British abolition of slavery brought an end to slavery in the United States (1834). The Underground Railroad had its beginnings at the site of enslavement in the United States. The routes followed natural and man-made forms of movement, including rivers, canals, bays, the Atlantic Coast, ferries and river crossings, as well as roads and trails and other infrastructure.
Freedom seekers used their inventiveness to devise disguises, forgeries, and other techniques, drawing on their courage and brains in the process.
Commemoration of Underground Railroad History
Commemoration may only take place if local Underground Railroad figures and events have been discovered and documented. Primary materials, such as letters from the time period, court testimony, or newspaper articles, are used to verify the historical record. Education and preservation of the public are the following steps, which will be accomplished through the preservation of major locations, the use of authentic history in heritage tourism and educational programs, museum and touring exhibits, and commemorative sculpture.
Whenever a site has been paved over, changed, or reconstructed, a pamphlet, walking tour, school curriculum, road marker, or plaque might be used to educate the public about the significance of the location.
A local festival might be organized to bring the history of the area to the attention of the general public.
Uncovering Underground Railroad History
Despite years of assertions that the Underground Railroad’s history was shrouded in secrecy, local historians, genealogists, oral historians, and other researchers have discovered that primary sources describing the flight to freedom of many enslaved African Americans have survived to the present day. It is becoming clearer that the slaves were determined to pursue their own and their families’ freedom, as evidenced by court documents, memoirs of conductors and freedom seekers, letters, runaway advertisements in newspapers, and military records.
A lot of the time, no one has been able to piece together the parts of freedom seekers’ narrative by looking at their starting and ending locations, let alone the moments in between.
Anthony Burns is a writer who lives in New York City.
Unknown Underground Railroad Heroes
Abolitionist Harriet Tubman, known as the “Moses of her people,” and Frederick Douglass, a freedom seeker who rose to become the greatest African American leader of his time, are two of the most well-known figures linked with the Underground Railroad. Both were from the state of Maryland. Those seeking freedom, on the other hand, came from every part of the world where slavery was legalized, even the northern colonies. Harriet Jacobs arrived from North Carolina, where she had spent the previous seven years hidden in her grandmother’s attic.
- Louis and journeyed 700 miles until she reached Canada, where she sought sanctuary.
- Lewis Hayden, his wife, and their kid were able to flee from slavery in Kentucky to freedom in Ohio thanks to the assistance of Delia Webster and Calvin Fairbanks.
- Mary Ellen Pleasant, a black businesswoman from San Francisco, took in a fugitive named Archy Lee and hosted him in her house, setting the stage for an important state court case.
- Coffin and Rankin are two white clergymen from the Midwest who aided freedom seekers in their efforts to gain their independence.
- Residents of Wellington and Oberlin, Ohio, both black and white, stood up to slave hunters and refused to allow them to return John Price to his servitude in the state of Kentucky.
- Charles Torrey, Leonard Grimes, and Jacob Bigelow were among the members of a multiracial network in Washington, D.C., who worked for years to assist individuals like as Ann Marie Weems, the Edmondson sisters, and Garland White in their quest for freedom.
William and Ellen Craft managed to flee over one thousand miles from Georgia to Boston by putting on a convincing disguise.
National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
In addition to coordinating preservation and education efforts across the country, the National Park Service Underground Railroad program integrates local historical sites, museums, and interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad into a mosaic of community, regional, and national stories. The Network also seeks to foster contact and collaboration between scholars and other interested parties, as well as to help in the formation of statewide organizations dedicated to the preservation and investigation of Underground Railroad locations.
Fugitive Slave Law of 1850
According to Ohio History Central This group of freedom seekers made their way to freedom in Canada via the Underground Railroad and settled in the city of Windsor, Ontario. According to the order of their names, from left to right, the back row includes Mrs. Hunt, Mrs. Mansfield Smith, and Mrs. Seymour; the front row includes Stevenson and Johnson. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 was enacted as part of the Compromise of 1850, which abolished slavery. As a result of this rule, the United States government was compelled to aggressively help slave proprietors in the recapturing of liberation seekers.
- With the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, the federal government was obligated to help slave owners.
- This measure was criticized by abolitionists in the North.
- Abolitionists hoped that the Fugitive Slave Law would grant African Americans the opportunity to testify in court as well as the right to a jury trial.
- The Fugitive Slave Law was plainly in the favor of the slave owners and their descendants.
- Marshals from the United States had to go out of their way to find and restore freedom seekers to their rightful owners.
- African Americans were not permitted to present evidence to a federal commissioner who was appointed to hear a case and determine whether an African American was a slave or a free individual.
- If the commissioner decided in favor of the white guy, the commissioner earned a monetary reward of 10 dollars for his efforts.
This section of the Fugitive Slave Law was criticized by many abolitionists for serving as a way of bribing the commissioners.
332 African Americans were forced into slavery in the South out of the total population of 343 persons.
Hundreds of thousands of African Americans migrated to Canada during the Civil Rights Movement.
The legitimacy of the Fugitive Slave Law was challenged in court by abolitionists, but the United States Supreme Court maintained the law’s constitutionality in 1859.
They urged people to fight any attempts to enforce it and referred to this law as the “Kidnap Law” in order to raise awareness.
On a few occasions, residents of Ohio physically obstructed the implementation of the Fugitive Slave Law.
A federal marshal apprehended a freedom seeker and sought to deport him back to the United States of America.
Residents of Oberlin and Wellington assisted the freedom seekers in their escape once more. For breaching the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, thirty-seven persons were charged. In the end, just two of the defendants were found guilty and sentenced to prison time.
However, many of the intriguing and lesser known elements of the Underground Railroad are not included in many textbooks, despite the fact that it is an essential part of our nation’s history. It is intended that this booklet will serve as a window into the past by presenting a number of original documents pertaining to the Underground Railroad. Broadsides, prize posters, newspaper clippings, historical records, sheet music, pictures, and memoirs connected to the Underground Railroad are among the primary sources included in this collection.
- The Underground Railroad was a covert structure established to assist fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom in the United States.
- As a result, secret codes were developed to aid in the protection of themselves and their purpose.
- Runaway slaves were referred to as cargo, and the free persons who assisted them on their journey to freedom were referred to as conductors.
- These stations would be identified by a lantern that was lighted and hung outside.
A Dangerous Path to Freedom
Traveling through the Underground Railroad to seek their freedom was a lengthy and risky trek for escaped slaves. Runaway slaves were forced to travel long distances, sometimes on foot, in a short amount of time in order to escape. They accomplished this while surviving on little or no food and with little protection from the slave hunters who were rushing after them in the night. Slave owners were not the only ones who sought for and apprehended fleeing slaves. For the purpose of encouraging people to aid in the capture of these slaves, their owners would post reward posters offering monetary compensation for assisting in the capture of their property.
- Numerous arrested fugitive slaves were beaten, branded, imprisoned, sold back into slavery, or sometimes killed once they were apprehended.
- They would have to fend off creatures that wanted to kill and devour them while trekking for lengthy periods of time in the wilderness, as well as cross dangerous terrain and endure extreme temperatures.
- The Fleeing Slave Law of 1850 permitted and promoted the arrest of fugitive slaves since they were regarded as stolen property rather than mistreated human beings under the law at the time.
- They would not be able to achieve safety and freedom until they crossed the border into Canada.
- Aside from that, there were Underground Railroad routes that ran south, on their way to Mexico and the Caribbean.
- He was kidnapped from his northern abode, arrested, and prosecuted in Boston, Massachusetts, under the provisions of this legislation.
- After the trial, Burns was returned to the harshness of the southern states, from which he had thought he had fled.
American Memory and America’s Library are two names for the Library of Congress’ American Memory and America’s Library collections.
He did not escape via the Underground Railroad, but rather on a regular railroad.
Since he was a fugitive slave who did not have any “free papers,” he had to borrow a seaman’s protection certificate, which indicated that a seaman was a citizen of the United States, in order to prove that he was free.
Unfortunately, not all fugitive slaves were successful in their quest for freedom.
Harriet Tubman, Henry Bibb, Anthony Burns, Addison White, Josiah Henson, and John Parker were just a few of the people who managed to escape slavery using the Underground Railroad system.
He shipped himself from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a box that measured three feet long, two and a half feet deep, and two feet in diameter. When he was finally let out of the crate, he burst out singing.
Train conductors on the Underground Railroad were free persons who provided assistance to escaped slaves moving via the Underground Railroad system. Runaway slaves were assisted by conductors, who provided them with safe transportation to and from train stations. They were able to accomplish this under the cover of darkness, with slave hunters on their tails. Many of these stations would be in the comfort of their own homes or places of work, which was convenient. They were in severe danger as a result of their actions in hiding fleeing slaves; nonetheless, they continued because they believed in a cause bigger than themselves, which was the liberation thousands of oppressed human beings.
- They represented a diverse range of ethnicities, vocations, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
- Due to the widespread belief that slaves were considered property, the freeing of slaves was perceived as a theft of slave owners’ personal belongings.
- Captain Jonathan Walker was apprehended off the coast of Florida while attempting to convey slaves from the United States to freedom in the Bahamas.
- With the following words from one of his songs, abolitionist poet John Whittier paid respect to Walker’s valiant actions: “Take a step forward with your muscular right hand, brave ploughman of the sea!
- She never lost sight of any of them during the journey.
- He went on to write a novel.
- John Parker is yet another former slave who escaped and returned to slave states in order to aid in the emancipation of others.
Rankin’s neighbor and fellow conductor, Reverend John Rankin, was a collaborator in the Underground Railroad project.
The Underground Railroad’s conductors were unquestionably anti-slavery, and they were not alone in their views.
Individuals such as William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur and Lewis Tappan founded the American Anti-Slavery Society, which marked the beginning of the abolitionist movement.
The group published an annual almanac that featured poetry, paintings, essays, and other abolitionist material.
Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who rose to prominence as an abolitionist after escaping from slavery.
His other abolitionist publications included the Frederick Douglass Paper, which he produced in addition to delivering public addresses on themes that were important to abolitionists.
Anthony was another well-known abolitionist who advocated for the abolition of slavery via her speeches and writings.
For the most part, she based her novel on the adventures of escaped slave Josiah Henson.
Efforts of Abolitionists Telling Their Story:Fugitive Slave Narratives
Henry Bibb was born into slavery in Kentucky in the year 1815, and he was the son of a slave owner. After several failed efforts to emancipate himself from slavery, he maintained the strength and persistence to continue his struggle for freedom despite being captured and imprisoned numerous times. His determination paid off when he was able to successfully escape to the northern states and then on to Canada with the assistance of the Underground Railroad, which had been highly anticipated. The following is an excerpt from his tale, in which he detailed one of his numerous escapes and the difficulties he faced as a result of his efforts.
- I began making preparations for the potentially lethal experiment of breading the shackles that tied me as a slave as soon as the clock struck twelve.
- On the twenty-fifth of December, 1837, the long-awaited day had finally arrived when I would put into effect my previous determination, which was to flee for Liberty or accept death as a slave, as I had previously stated.
- It took every ounce of moral strength I have to keep my emotions under control as I said goodbye to my small family.
- Despite the fact that every incentive was extended to me in order to flee if I want to be free, and the call of liberty was booming in my own spirit, ‘Be free, oh, man!
- I was up against a slew of hurdles that had gathered around my mind, attempting to bind my wounded soul, which was still imprisoned in the dark prison of mental degeneration.
- Furthermore, the danger of being killed or arrested and deported to the far South, where I would be forced to spend the rest of my days in hopeless bondage on a cotton or sugar plantation, all conspired to discourage me.
- The moment has come for me to follow through on my commitment.
- This marked the beginning of the construction of what was known as the underground rail route to Canada.
For nearly forty-eight hours, I pushed myself to complete my journey without food or rest, battling against external difficulties that no one who has never experienced them can comprehend: “not knowing when I might be captured while traveling among strangers, through cold and fear, braving the north winds while wearing only a thin layer of clothing, pelted by snow storms through the dark hours of the night, and not a single house in which I could enter to protect me from the storm.” This is merely one of several accounts penned by runaway slaves who were on the run from their masters.
Sojourner Truth was another former slave who became well-known for her work to bring slavery to an end.
Green and many others, including Josiah Henson, authored autobiographies in which they described their own personal experiences.
Perhaps a large number of escaped slaves opted to write down their experiences in order to assist people better comprehend their struggles and tribulations; or perhaps they did so in order to help folks learn from the mistakes of the past in order to create a better future for themselves.
Fugitive Slave Act
The act was passed by Congress on September 18, 1850. The Compromise of 1850 included the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Even if slaves were in a free state at the time of the act’s passage, they were compelled to be restored to their masters. The legislation also mandated that the federal government be in charge of locating, returning, and prosecuting fugitive slaves. Section 1Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the persons who have been, or may hereafter be, appointed commissioners by the Circuit Courts of the United States, in pursuance of any act of Congress, and Who, as a result of such appointment, are authorized to exercise the powers that any justice of the peace, or other magistrate of any of the United States may exercise in respect to an offender, shall be known as “commissioners.” And it is further enacted that the Superior Court of each organized Territory of the United States shall have the same power to appoint commissioners to take acknowledgments of bail and affidavits, and to take depositions of witnesses in civil cases, as is now possessed by the Circuit Court of the United States; and all commissioners who shall hereafter be appointed for such purposes by the Superior Court of any organized Territory of the United States, shall be appointed by the Superior Court of the Territory in which they are appointed Sec.
3And be it further established, that the Circuit Courts of the United States may, at their discretion, increase the number of commissioners, in order to provide appropriate facilities for the recovery of fugitives from work and the quick performance of the responsibilities required by this act.
It is further enacted that when a person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the United States has escaped into another State or Territory of the United States, the person or persons to whom such service or labor may be due, or his, her, or their agent or attorney, duly authorized, by power of attorney in writing, acknowledged and certified under the seal of some legal officer or court of the State or Territory in which the person or persons to whom such service or labor may be due, shall be liable for any The testimony of an alleged fugitive will not be admissible in evidence in any trial or hearing conducted under this act; and the certificates issued under this section and the first section mentioned shall be conclusive evidence of the right of the person or persons who obtained the certificates to return the fugitive to the State or Territory from which he escaped, and shall prevent any molestation of such person or persons by any process issued by any court, judge, magistrate, or other person whomsoever.
And it is further enacted that any person who knowingly and willingly obstructs, hinders, or prevents a claimant, his agent or attorney, or any person or persons lawfully assisting him, her, or them from arresting such a fugitive from service or labor, either with or without process as aforesaid, or who rescues, or attempts to rescue, such a fugitive from service or labor from the custody of such claimant, his agent or And it is further enacted that the marshals, their deputies, and the clerks of the said District and Territorial Courts, shall be paid, for their services, the same fees as may be allowed for similar services in other cases; and where such services are rendered exclusively in the arrest, custody, and delivery of the fugitive to the claimant, his or her agent, or attorney, or where such supposed fugitive may be discharged out of custody for lack of sufficient evidence, the same fees A fee of five dollars each for each person he or she may arrest and bring before any commissioner as aforesaid, at the instance and request of such claimant, as well as such other fees as may be deemed reasonable by such commissioner for such other additional services as may be necessitated by such process shall be paid to such person or persons authorized to execute the process to be issued by such commissioner for the arrest and detention of fugitives from service or labor as aforesaid.
Section 9It is further enacted that, upon the affidavit of the claimant of such fugitive, his agent, or attorney, after such certificate has been issued, that he has reason to believe that such fugitive will be rescued by force from his or their possession before he or they can be taken beyond the limits of the State in which the arrest is made, it shall be the duty of the officer making the arrest to retain such fugitive in his custody and to remove him And in order to do this, the officer aforesaid is thus permitted and compelled to hire as many people as he deems necessary in order to overcome such force, and to maintain them in his service for as long as the circumstances dictate.
It is agreed that the said officer and his assistants will be paid the same compensation and expenses as are now permitted by law for transportation of criminals, and that these expenses will be certified by the judge of the district in which they are arrested and paid out of the United States treasury while on duty.
After which the court shall cause a record to be made of the matters so proved, as well as a general description of the person so escaping, with such convenient certainty as may be; and a transcript of such record, authenticated by the attestation of the clerk and of the seal of the said court, being produced in any other State, Territory, or district in which the person so escaping may be found, and being exhibited to any judge, commissioner, or other office, authorized by the court; and The person escaping will be given over to the claimant upon the submission by the said party of further and further proof, if required (oral or by affidavit), in addition to what is included in the said record of the identification of the person escaping.
Upon the production of the record and other evidences aforesaid, the said court, commissioner, judge, or other person authorized by this act to grant certificates to claimants or fugitives shall grant to such claimant a certificate of his right to take any such person identified and proven to be owing service or labor as aforesaid, which certificate shall authorize such claimant to seize or arrest such person and transport him to the State or Territory from which he has fled.
However, in the absence of such evidence, the claim will be heard and resolved on the basis of other good proofs that are competent in law. The date of approval was September 18, 1850.