chapter  10
4 Pages

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, a.k.a. "The Bloodhound Bill"

This act was passed into law as part of a compromise to admit California into the Union as a free state, and to abolish slavery in Washington D.C. The Fugitive Slave Act, or “Bloodhound Bill” as it was dubbed by abolitionists, allowed slave catchers, magistrates, and almost anyone at all to capture blacks suspected of being fugitives from slavery, and “return them” to the South without any real due process. The act prompted terror and fl ight among free and fugitive blacks in the North, and outraged protests among abolitionists. In every respect the law placed the burden on slaves, and all black people, to be able to prove their emancipation, and gave every reward and accommodation to those who sought to enforce the law.