The 1859 Oberlin Trial: A Victory for the Higher Law

Source: Tenth Amendment Center
by TJ Martinell

“In 1850, Congress passed the second Fugitive Slave Act, one of the most notorious pieces of federal legislation ever enacted. The law allowed slave owners or slavehunters to enter northern states and seize black persons to be brought back to the South as slaves. The law stripped the accused of any semblance of due process. People targeted as a runaway slaves weren’t even allowed to testify in their own defense. On top of that, slave commissioners were financially incentivized to treat every case as though the person in question was indeed a runaway slave. The policy was akin to a judge being paid for every guilty verdict rendered in his court. In response to the Fugitive Slave Act, many northern states and localities passed personal liberty laws that blocked enforcement of the federal within their jurisdictions.” (04/30/22)