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The Impact of the Fugitive Slave Law on Abolitionism

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The Impact of the Fugitive Slave Law on Abolitionism
 
 
In his first draft of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson accused the King of Britain of violating the sacred human rights of life and liberty by promoting slavery as a means of economic development. While Congress omitted this section from the final document, it does show that slavery was an issue for the American nation from its inception. So, while it may have been established by its mother country, the roots of slavery are laid deep in American soil. By the early 19th century, slavery had grown up and become interwoven with all social and political institutions, and was considered by many to be a vital part of our nation.

As many of the northern states began to change their policies on the enslavement of Africans, the South became aware that those areas might become a haven of refuge for runaway slaves. In an effort to appease southern slave owners, the Fugitive Slave Law was passed in 1793, which allowed slave owners to apprehend fugitives in any state or territory and only required them to apply for c...


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...on Safety Committee, 1851. American Memory. Library of Congress. 8 Feb. 2002 .

Shaw, Lemeul, et al. To the citizens of Massachusetts. The undersigned are moved by an imperative sense of duty to address their fellow-citizens of the State of Massachusetts, concerning the portentous condition of our public affairs. n.p.:n.p., 1850. American Memory. Library of Congress. 6 Feb. 2002 < http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/rbpe:@field(DOCID+@lit(rbpe06501000))>.

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