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“On the other hand, he generally steered clear of fugitive-slave cases, “because of his unwillingness to be a party to a violation of the Fugitive Slave Law, arguing that the way to overcome the difficulty was to repeal the law.””
“As I indicated in my review, I was fascinated by Slaughter's accounts of unrelated riots, crimes, and trials but kept wondering how Hanway's acquittal "impinged on other fugitive-slave cases" and what the Christiana resistance meant as a model and example to black leaders in the 1850s.”
“He supported fugitive-slave laws that returned escaped slaves to their masters, though he knew they would face certain brutality or even death.”
“The 1850 fugitive-slave law added fuel to the fire, gave impetus to the so-called Underground Railway spiriting fugitives to Canada, and set off a course of legal wrangling that reached a climax in the Dred Scott case.50”
“On the enforcement issues under the fugitive-slave laws, see Robert Cover, Justice Accused: Anti-Slavery and the Judicial Process (1975); Paul Finkelman, An Imperfect Union: Slavery, Federalism, and Comity (1981), deals with the tangled issues of the extraterritorial effects of slavery in a federal union which was half slave and half free.”
“There was, of course, another side to this picture: the growing abolition movement and the stubbornness of the North toward the various fugitive-slave laws.”
“The minutemen, those self-deputized, modern-day fugitive-slave catchers, stand ready at the border to arrest, shoot and kill Mexicans, ostensibly for the good of the nation.”
“Some masters, who fail from defect of temper or disposition to secure the affections of the conquered people, frequently find themselves left without a single servant, in consequence of the absence and impossibility of enforcing a fugitive-slave law, and the readiness with which those who are themselves subjected assist the fugitives across the rivers in canoes.”
“In 1850 the famous Whig senator Daniel Webster defended his support for a tough fugitive-slave law on such grounds.”
“The fugitive-slave clause of the Constitution and the law for the suppression of the foreign slave trade are each as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can ever be in a community where the moral sense of the people imperfectly supports the law itself.”
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