The focus of this investigation is to analyze the North’s and South’s criticism of Fugitive Slave Law and how their political views create division between the United States furthermore leading to factors a Civil War factor.
In order to do this, criticisms will be reviewed analyzing the Fugitive Slave articles from both the North and South and interpreting their views on the Fugitive Slave Law....
A further difference between civil disobedience and common crimespertains to the willingness of the offender to accept the legalconsequences. The willingness of disobedients to accept punishment istaken not only as a mark of (general) fidelity to the law, but also asan assertion that they differ from ordinary offenders. Acceptingpunishment also can have great strategic value, as Martin Luther KingJr observes: ‘If you confront a man who has been cruelly misusingyou, and say “Punish me, if you will; I do not deserve it, but Iwill accept it, so that the world will know I am right and you arewrong,” then you wield a powerful and just weapon’(Washington 1991, 348). Moreover, like non-violence, a willingness toaccept the legal consequences normally is preferable, and often has apositive impact on the disobedient's cause. This willingnessmay make the majority realise that what is for them a matter ofindifference is for disobedients a matter of great importance (Singer1973, 84). Similarly, it may demonstrate the purity or selflessness ofthe disobedient's motives or serve as a means to mobilise morebroad-based support (Raz 1979, 265). And yet, punishment can also bedetrimental to dissenters' efforts by compromising futureattempts to assist others through protest (Greenawalt 1987, 239).Furthermore, the link between a willingness to accept punishment andrespect for law can be pulled apart. A revolutionary like Gandhi washappy to go to jail for his offences, but felt no fidelity toward theparticular legal system in which he acted.
The term ‘civil disobedience’ was coined by Henry DavidThoreau in his 1848 essay to describe his refusal to pay the state polltax implemented by the American government to prosecute a war in Mexicoand to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law. In his essay, Thoreau observesthat only a very few people – heroes, martyrs, patriots,reformers in the best sense – serve their society with theirconsciences, and so necessarily resist society for the most part, andare commonly treated by it as enemies. Thoreau,for his part, spent time in jail for his protest. Many after him haveproudly identified their protests as acts of civil disobedience andhave been treated by their societies – sometimes temporarily,sometimes indefinitely – as its enemies.
Against Raz, one could argue, as David Lefkowitz does, that when aperson appeals to political participation rights to defend herdisobedience she does not necessarily criticise the law for outlawingher action. Lefkowitz maintains that members of minorities canappreciate that democratic discussions often must be cut short so thatdecisions may be taken. As such, persons who engage in politicaldisobedience may view current policy as the best compromise betweenthe need to act and the need to accommodate continueddebate. Nonetheless, they also can observe that, with greaterresources or further time for debate, their view might have heldsway. Given this possibility, the right to political participationmust include a right to continue to contest the result after the votesare counted or the decisions taken. And this right should includesuitably constrained civil disobedience because the best conception ofpolitical participation rights is one that reduces as much as possiblethe impact that luck has on the popularity of a view (Lefkowitz2007; see also Ceva 2015).
This controversial law allowed slave-hunters to seize alleged fugitiveslaves without due process of law and prohibited anyone from aidingescaped fugitives or obstructing their recovery. Because it was oftenpresumed that a black person was a slave, the law threatened the safety ofall blacks, slave and free, and forced many Northerners to become moredefiant in their support of fugitives. S. M. Africanus presentsobjections in prose and verse to justify noncompliance with this law.
This is a portrait of fugitive slave Anthony Burns, whose arrest and trialin Boston under the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 incitedriots and protests by white and black abolitionists and citizens of Bostonin the spring of 1854. The portrait is surrounded by scenes from hislife, including his sale on the auction block, escape from Richmond,Virginia, capture and imprisonment in Boston, and his return to a vesselto transport him to the South. Within a year after his capture,abolitionists were able to raise enough money to purchase Burns's freedom.