- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Online publication date: January 2018
- Print publication year: 2018
- Online ISBN: 9781108275439
This magisterial study, ten years in the making by one of the field's most distinguished historians, will be the first to explore the impact fugitive slaves had on the politics of the critical decade leading up to the Civil War. Through the close reading of diverse sources ranging from government documents to personal accounts, Richard J. M. Blackett traces the decisions of slaves to escape, the actions of those who assisted them, the many ways black communities responded to the capture of fugitive slaves, and how local laws either buttressed or undermined enforcement of the federal law. Every effort to enforce the law in northern communities produced levels of subversion that generated national debate so much so that, on the eve of secession, many in the South, looking back on the decade, could argue that the law had been effectively subverted by those individuals and states who assisted fleeing slaves.
Eric Foner - Columbia University, New York and author of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery
Steven Lubet - author of Fugitive Justice: Runaways, Rescuers, and Slavery on Trial and The 'Colored Hero' of Harper’s Ferry: John Anthony Copeland and the War against Slavery
David W. Blight - Yale University and author of the forthcoming Frederick Douglass: American Prophet
Nicholas Guyatt - University of Cambridge and author of Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation
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