Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 was an Act of the United States Congress to give effect to the Fugitive Slave Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article 4, Section 2, Clause 3 Note: Superseded by the Thirteenth Amendment) guaranteed the right of a slaveholder to recover an escaped slave. The Act's title was "An Act respecting fugitives from justice, and persons escaping from the service of their masters" and created the legal mechanism by which that could be accomplished.

The Act was passed by the House of Representatives on February 4, 1793 by a vote of 48–7 with 14 abstaining. The "Annals of Congress" state that the law was approved on February 12, 1793.

The Act was strengthened at the insistence of the slave states of the South by the Compromise of 1850, which required even the governments and residents of free states to enforce the capture and return of fugitive slaves. The enforcement of the Act outraged Northern public opinion. (See Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.)

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Early and Antebellum America (1789-1860)

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