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The Fugitive Slave Law and Its Victims Anti-Slavery Tracts No. 18   By:

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The Fugitive Slave Law and Its Victims Anti-Slavery Tracts No. 18 is a powerful and deeply thought-provoking publication by the American Anti-Slavery Society. Although the title might not seem particularly engaging or attention-grabbing, the content within this book is essential for anyone seeking to understand the history and moral implications of slavery in the United States.

The book delves into the Fugitive Slave Law, a contentious and brutal piece of legislation that was enacted in 1850 as part of the Compromise of 1850. The law stipulated that escaped slaves, even if they had reached states where slavery was illegal, must be returned to their owners if captured. This law led to countless wrenching cases of individuals wrongfully enslaved, torn away from their newfound freedom, and taken back into bondage.

Through a series of testimonies, legal documents, and narratives of enslaved individuals, the American Anti-Slavery Society sheds light on the horrific consequences of the Fugitive Slave Law. The book artfully combines historical context with the human side of the story, captivating readers with powerful anecdotes that convey the inhumanity inherent in slavery.

One of the book's strengths is its ability to bring the often overlooked personal experiences of enslaved individuals to the forefront. By sharing firsthand accounts of individuals who faced unimaginable cruelty and injustice, the American Anti-Slavery Society allows readers to connect on a deeply emotional level with the victims of slavery.

Moreover, the book strikes a balance between informative content and impassioned calls to action. It details the legal aspects of the Fugitive Slave Law and the political climate that permitted its passage, highlighting the profound systemic racism present in the United States. Simultaneously, it urges readers to take a stand against the injustice, emphasizing the importance of swift action and the eradication of such unjust laws.

Although this book is just one in a series of anti-slavery tracts, it stands out for its ability to educate, evoke empathy, and ignite the passion for justice within its readers. It sheds light on a dark chapter of American history, unmasking the horrors of slavery and the lasting scars left by oppressive legislation such as the Fugitive Slave Law.

The Fugitive Slave Law and Its Victims Anti-Slavery Tracts No. 18 is an eye-opening and compelling read that challenges readers to confront the immense human suffering and systemic oppression that were once prevalent in the United States. Through its poignant narratives and passionate pleas for change, this book serves as an important contribution to the abolitionist movement and a vital reminder of the power of activism in the pursuit of justice.

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The Fugitive Slave Law was enacted by Congress in September, 1850, received the signature of HOWELL COBB, [of Georgia,] as Speaker of the House of Representatives, of WILLIAM R. KING, [of Alabama,] as President of the Senate, and was "approved," September 18th, of that year, by MILLARD FILLMORE, Acting President of the United States.

The authorship of the Bill is generally ascribed to James M. Mason, Senator from Virginia. Before proceeding to the principal object of this tract, it is proper to give a synopsis of the Act itself, which was well called, by the New York Evening Post , "An Act for the Encouragement of Kidnapping." It is in ten sections.


SECTION 1. United States Commissioners "authorized and required to exercise and discharge all the powers and duties conferred by this act."

SECT. 2. Commissioners for the Territories to be appointed by the Superior Court of the same.

SECT. 3. United States Circuit Courts, and Superior Courts of Territories, required to enlarge the number of Commissioners, "with a view to afford reasonable facilities to reclaim fugitives from labor," &c... Continue reading book >>

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