Fugitive Slave Acts
- Laws enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1793 and 1850 and revoked in 1864. These laws facilitated the capture and extradition of escaped slaves who had fled from one state to another or into a federal territory. The law passed in 1793 gave federal and state judges the power to conclusively determine the status of a supposed escaped slave, without the need for a trial by jury. These laws were believed to remain in effect for slaves escaping from masters in states aligned with the Union during the American Civil War, until they were finally repealed on June 28, 1864
- The abolitionists were active lobbyists against the Fugitive Slave Acts, arguing for their repeal.
- Under the Fugitive Slave Acts, an alleged runaway slave could be declared a slave by a judge without a jury trial.
- The Fugitive Slave Acts were finally repealed in 1864, during the final years of the Civil War.