Guided Primary Source Analysis: Synopsis of the Fugitive Slave Law

Synopsis of the fugitive slave law
“The Fugitive slave law. [Hartford, Ct.? : s.n., 185-?].” An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera. Notes: Text of the law.; Includes “Synopsis of the law,” critical of the legislation, signed by S.M. Africanus, Hartford, Ct., and poem in three parts.
Review this synopsis of the fugitive slave law. Choose one of the synopsis points and find which part(s) of the fugitive law text the author drew from to create the summary. Use the text from the fugitive slave law to create your own synopsis using modern-day language.

In the objections, the author states that the fugitive slave law “violates the spirit and letter of the Constitution” and then lists several examples. Look for one of the examples in the actual text of the U.S. Constitution. Which section of the Constitution does the example come from? Do you agree with the source’s author that the fugitive slave law “violates the spirit and letter of the Constitution”? Why or Why not?

Do you think S.M. Africanus is the real name of the author? Why or why not?

What other observations, reflections or questions does this source inspire? Let us know!

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Primary Source Spotlight: Fugitive Slave Law