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The Fugitive Slave Act was passed by congress on September 18, 1850, as part of a compromise allowing California to enter the Union as a free state and ending the slave trade in the District of Columbia and required all citizens to aid in the capture and return of any fugitive slave. The passage and enforcement of this law enraged many people in the North--even those who were not ardent abolitionists. This article is poking fun at the free soilers (abolitionists) who keep changing their minds on who is to blame for the law. Henry Clay and Daniel Webster both supported the compromise that lead to the act. The compromise plan seemed destined to fail until Millard Fillmore became president in July. With the administration behind the plan, the compromise bills passed and were signed by the president to become law. The compromise divided the Whig party and eventually lead to the downfall of the party.


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"Several Fathers" article re: Clay, Webster and Fillmore and Fugitive Slave Law in the Gazette and Courier newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Gazette and Courier
date   Mar 31, 1851
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
width   2.0"
height   10.0"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
accession #   #L09.006

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See Also...

Boston Commonwealth report of speech of Dana in behalf of Davis re: fugitive Shadrich article in Gazette and Courier newspaper

Letter to Aaron Fuller from son Elijah

Excerpts from "Reminiscences of Fugitive-Slave Law Days in Boston"

"Proclamation by the President" [Millard Fillmore] article in the Franklin Democrat newspaper

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