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How did northern abolitionists respond to the fines imposed by the fugitive slave laws?
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How did northerns respond to the fugitive slave act?
Very badly - it was the biggest cause of the failure of the Compromise of 1850. Under this Act, members of the public had to report anyone who looked as though they might be a runaway slave, on pain of a heavy fine. Ordinary citizens strongly resented being treated as unpaid slave-catchers, and of course it stirred up the Abolitionists in particular. One of them was Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' out of fury at the new Act. This best-selling book encouraged the setting-up of the Underground Railroad - the system of safe-houses by which fugitive slaves could be smuggled into Canada.
How did people respond to John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry?
The South thought it showed that all Abolitionists were violent revolutionaries. The Abolitionists (only a small minority of Northerners) thought it made Brown a hero-martyr. Other Northerners deplored the raid, as they felt it was drawing the country into war. With that said, Abraham Lincoln called Brown's raid absurd.
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