What was the Fugitive Slave ACT.?

Our Answer

In 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe published an important novel called Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This book was based on a runaway slaves she met in Cincinnati. The book was written in response to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.
The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 made it illegal to help slaves escape. This law required the United States government to help slave owners in recapturing their fugitive slaves. They hired people to help capture the slave that escaped and they got money for each slave they captured. So they just took any one that was black, even if they were free. That was not fair for the free slaves`. Also they took any one that someone reported that they said where slaves. Under the United States Constitution, slave owners had the right to reclaim slaves who ran away to free states. With the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, the federal government had to help the slave owners. No law had existed previously.

Northern abolitionists opposed this law. While the United States Congress debated the legislation, some legislators tried to insert protections into the bill for African Americans. They wanted the Fugitive Slave Law to guarantee African Americans the right to testify and the right to a trial by jury. Other legislators refused and claimed that African Americans were not United States citizens.