The Pros And Cons Of The Fugitive Slave Law

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Underneath the talk of states’ rights, expansion, tariffs, and railroads there was always slaves, toiling on southern plantations and growing in number each day. As the country entered the nineteenth century, politicians found the unanswered issue of slavery demanded attention. This attention was necessary not only because of the expanding country, welcoming new states into the fold, but because of the slaves themselves and their actions. Despite talk of other political issues crucial to politicians as the years crept toward the Civil War, slavery was constantly an undertone in each debate. The presence of slaves and free blacks throughout the United States of America influenced both northern and southern politicians to create legislation that …show more content…

“For the Slave South to deter its most potentially destructive slave resistance, potential fugitives had to dread coercion outside as well as inside their masters’ estate” and the act provided that coercion. The free blacks, at the very least inspiring images to slaves, encouraged potential runaways through their lifestyles and knowledge. Without these slaves’ attempts to gain freedom, the act would not have been necessary. The northern states would not have made laws allowing citizens not to participate in slave catching, and the southern states would not have been nervous about northern state compliance with the return of their …show more content…

While northern Democratic senator Stephen Douglas introduced the bill purely to organize the western territory to build railroads in his home state of Illinois, the South grabbed at the chance to push their expansion agenda. Knowing that Douglas needed Southern Democrats in order to pass his bill, the senators would “no longer tolerate retention of the Missouri Compromise’s declaration that slavery must be ‘forever prohibited’ from Nebraska.” They needed to cancel this “retention” since slavery would not last trapped in the South. Douglas offered them the opportunity to demand a change. The growing number of slaves pressured the politicians to take this chance to better their chances for expansion, and therefore survival of

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the presence of slaves and free blacks throughout the united states of america influenced both northern and southern politicians to create legislation that dealt with what each section feared most.
  • Explains that the presence of free blacks in the south especially threatened slaveholders. they helped fugitive slaves escape by combining in "free black districts"
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