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A Lesson in Slavery

Chapter 3

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Famous Slaves

There were many compromises, stipulations and amendments to these throughout the slavery period and especially during the final years of it's existence.

The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was a decision of whether or not to allow Missouri into the Union and whether it would be a slave or non-slave state. This compromise also stated that all of the land that was purchased through the Louisiana Purchase north of Missouri was to be free and below Missouri would be slave states.(1)

An excerpt of the Compromise of 1850 states:

SEC. 10. And be it further enacted, That when any person held to service or labor in any State or Territory, or in the District of Columbia, shall escape therefrom, the party to whom such service or labor shall be due, his, her, or their agent or attorney, may apply to any court of record therein, or judge thereof in vacation, and make satisfactory proof to such court, or judge in vacation, of the escape aforesaid, and that the person escaping owed service or labor to such party. Whereupon the court shall cause a record to be made of the matters so proved, and also a general description of the person so escaping, with such convenient certainty as may be; and a transcript of such record, authenticated by the attestation of the clerk and of the seal of the said court, being produced in any other State, Territory, or district in which the person so escaping may be found, and being exhibited to any judge, commissioner, or other officer authorized by the law of the United States to cause persons escaping from service or labor to be delivered up, shall be held and taken to be full and conclusive evidence of the fact of escape, and that the service or labor of the person escaping is due to the party in such record mentioned. And upon the production by the said party of other and further evidence if necessary, either oral or by affidavit, in addition to what is contained in the said record of the identity of the person escaping, he or she shall be delivered up to the claimant. And the said court, commissioner, judge, or other person authorized by this act to grant certificates to claimants or fugitives, shall, upon the production of the record and other evidences aforesaid, grant to such claimant a certificate of his right to take any such person identified and proved to be owing service or labor as aforesaid, which certificate shall authorize such claimant to seize or arrest and transport such person to the State or Territory from which he escaped: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed as requiring the production of a transcript of such record as evidence as aforesaid. But in its absence the claim shall be heard and determined upon other satisfactory proofs, competent in law. (2)

It basically states that any slave that runs away from their master is able to searched for throughout any state, territory or union. This helped to weed out the free lands that slaves could escape to.

The next big decision was in 1854 between the two new territories of Kansas and Nebraska. The Act allowed these two territories to enter in the Union, but with the choice of determining if they wanted to be slave or non-slave states. There was a lot of controversy over the extension of slavery into the territories. The result: Nebraska became a free state no problem, but Kansas was another story. It did turn out to be a slave state, but after much harrasment and controversey.(3)

The Election of 1856 was primarily based on the concept and act of slavery. It followed to be a poltical debate for many previous years and still many years to come. What made it even easier to continue slavery was how wealthy slaveholders got themselves positions in the state legistlatures and obiouvlsy tried to push through pro slave bills(4)

Photo courtesy to

U.S. Colored Troops and the History of Emancipation During the Civil War. 18 July 2005 (

1 Kevin Eisert. The War for State's Rights. 22 July 2005 (

2 National Center. Fugitive Slave Act. 22 July 2005 (

3 InfoPlease. 2000-2005. Kansas-Nebraska Act. 22 July 2005 (

4 James Roake, et al, The American Promise: A History of the United States.Vol. 1: To 1877 (Boston/New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2002) 442.

Published by Toni Crocilla