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US Civil War

The compromise of 1850 included what?

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December 03, 2012 10:08AM

Most of it favoured the North. So there had to be a big act of appeasement to the South, in order to get it through.

This was the Fugitive Slave Act, a toughened-up version of an old law which had fallen into disuse. The message was "We can't offer you much prospect of new slave-states, but my goodness we'll crack down on those runaways." It obliged every citizen to report anyone who looked as though they might be a runaway, on pain of a heavy fine. The public strongly resented being treated like unpaid slave-catchers, and Harriet Becher Stowe wrote 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' as a protest against it.