This chapter discusses the law on runaway slaves. The federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 and the US Supreme Court’s decision in Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842) dominated the legal landscape in 1847. The act of 1793 implemented Section 2(3) of Article IV of the US Constitution by establishing a somewhat summary procedure for recovering runaways. The statute authorized a slave owner or owner’s agent to seize a purported fugitive, take him or her before a federal or state judicial officer, and offer written or oral sworn testimony that the accused was the claimant’s slave “under the laws of the State or Territory from which he or she fled.” If the judge agreed, he had no choice but to provide the claimant with a certificate of ownership of the individual in question. The case of Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842) involved a slave catcher who failed to follow Pennsylvania’s 1826 personal liberty law and was prosecuted, bringing the constitutionality of that law into question.
University Press of Mississippi requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.