If Southerners supported "states rights" then why did they push so hard for fugitive slaves laws in the 1850s which are contrary to states rights?

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privateflemming

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I've actually seen some people argue that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was in fact supporting states rights because it merely enforced the property rights of Southerners from Northern interference, even in Northern territory. But I think this seems like a specious argument. Imagine if refugees from a country where slavery is still practiced fled to the US and asked for asylum. Would the US be obligated to return them to their owners demanding them back even though the US has abolished slavery? No, clearly they wouldn't. If you read the Wikipedia article on extradition treaties that exist between countries you can see they all have barriers against extradition for crimes that the extraditing country doesn't recognize or where the accused is likely to face harsh or inhumane punishments. Forcing a country to extradite accused law breakers to another country for crimes they don't even recognize would clearly be an infringement on that country's sovereignty, and the same would apply to states.

It seems like the Southern demands for fugitive slaves to be returned to them by Northern state governments and private individuals living in Northern states where slavery was abolished was an infringement on the rights of those Northern states, making the later claims of Southerners to be defending states rights seem quite hypocritical. Does anyone have an argument against that?
 

archieclement

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I've actually seen some people argue that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was in fact supporting states rights because it merely enforced the property rights of Southerners from Northern interference, even in Northern territory. But I think this seems like a specious argument. Imagine if refugees from a country where slavery is still practiced fled to the US and asked for asylum. Would the US be obligated to return them to their owners demanding them back even though the US has abolished slavery? No, clearly they wouldn't. If you read the Wikipedia article on extradition treaties that exist between countries you can see they all have barriers against extradition for crimes that the extraditing country doesn't recognize or where the accused is likely to face harsh or inhumane punishments. Forcing a country to extradite accused law breakers to another country for crimes they don't even recognize would clearly be an infringement on that country's sovereignty, and the same would apply to states.

It seems like the Southern demands for fugitive slaves to be returned to them by Northern state governments and private individuals living in Northern states where slavery was abolished was an infringement on the rights of those Northern states, making the later claims of Southerners to be defending states rights seem quite hypocritical. Does anyone have an argument against that?
Not seeing the contradiction..........

States rights apply to issues not addressed by the Constitution, the return of fugitive slaves was addressed in the Constitution. Since it was specifically included in the US constitution it would seem to fall under national regulation more then state for any future modification.
 
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privateflemming

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Not seeing the contradiction..........

States rights apply to issues not addressed by the Constitution, the return of fugitive slaves was addressed in the Constitution. Since it was specifically included in the US constitution it would seem to fall under national regulation more then state for any future modification.
That's a fair point honestly. Fugitive slave laws are explicitly spelled out in the Constitution while secession for example isn't explicitly prohibited.

Still, though, I think it's clear that fugitive slave laws included in the Constitution do go against the autonomy of individual states as sovereign regions who can abide by their own laws. So regardless of its Constitutionality, it still represses the sovereignty of individual states by forcing them to not only abide by but actively enforce laws they are opposed to. I think if Southerners were truly committed to "states rights" as a general concept and limiting federal power as some modern defenders of the Confederacy seem to claim, then they should have understood why Northerners didn't want to be forced by the federal government to enforce these Southern laws within their own territories. But of course that would have been totally unrealistic since not being able to effectively enforce fugitive slave laws made slavery very unstable in the border regions. I think I get your point in a legalistic sense but I still think it made the South a bit morally hypocritical.
 
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trice

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Not seeing the contradiction..........

States rights apply to issues not addressed by the Constitution, the return of fugitive slaves was addressed in the Constitution. Since it was specifically included in the US constitution it would seem to fall under national regulation more then state for any future modification.
Even Robert Barnwell Rhett, the South Carolina Fire-Eater leader and publisher of the Charleston Mercury, thought that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was a violation of "states rights".

It was an extremely intrusive act that violated due process, setting aside the state court systems and side-stepping the Federal courts. It required state authorities to be subservient to the Federal government and act as their agents. It actually paid the commissioners deciding the cases more for deciding that a man was a slave than for deciding he was a free man. It forbade the accused from testifying in his own defense. It also led to the United States government to use military force against the state of Massachusetts (Army and Navy) to compel the recovery of a fugitive -- the Supreme Court would rule in early 1861 that the Federal government had no right to use force to compel a State governor to do his duty (Kentucky v. Dennison).

Rhett was opposed to the act when he was in Congress. He understood that it was a violation of the concept of "states' rights" -- but he understood that it was greatly in favor of "the South". In particular, it favored the Upper South and the Border States (because the Deep South had relatively few fugitive slaves to recover from "the North" (as in "the rest of the country")) and Rhett wanted to keep the upper states united with the lower. As a result, he was willing to overlook the "states rights" issue.[/QUOTE]
 

archieclement

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Even Robert Barnwell Rhett, the South Carolina Fire-Eater leader and publisher of the Charleston Mercury, thought that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was a violation of "states rights".

It was an extremely intrusive act that violated due process, setting aside the state court systems and side-stepping the Federal courts. It required state authorities to be subservient to the Federal government and act as their agents. It actually paid the commissioners deciding the cases more for deciding that a man was a slave than for deciding he was a free man. It forbade the accused from testifying in his own defense. It also led to the United States government to use military force against the state of Massachusetts (Army and Navy) to compel the recovery of a fugitive -- the Supreme Court would rule in early 1861 that the Federal government had no right to use force to compel a State governor to do his duty (Kentucky v. Dennison).

Rhett was opposed to the act when he was in Congress. He understood that it was a violation of the concept of "states' rights" -- but he understood that it was greatly in favor of "the South". In particular, it favored the Upper South and the Border States (because the Deep South had relatively few fugitive slaves to recover from "the North" (as in "the rest of the country")) and Rhett wanted to keep the upper states united with the lower. As a result, he was willing to overlook the "states rights" issue.
[/QUOTE]
Hes one opinion, but IMO the very defination of states rights is anything not delegated in the Constitution to Federal power/regulation is left to the states, fugitive slaves/law was clearly delegated to the federal government, hence it federal not states rights to decide

Federal Marshalls were still tasked to enforce the FSL until its repeal in 1864, because it is federal not states to decide...…..
 
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trice

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Hes one opinion, but IMO the very defination of states rights is anything not delegated in the Constitution to Federal power/regulation is left to the states, fugitive slaves/law was clearly delegated to the federal government, hence it federal not states rights to decide

Federal Marshalls were still tasked to enforce the FSL until its repeal in 1864, because it is federal not states to decide...…..
Rhett was an adamant supporter of the concept of "states' rights". He simply understood that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was a massive violation of "states' rights" -- and he was perfectly OK with violating them in this case because it was northern states that were being violated in favor of "the South". He would have been loudly and publicly against it if "the South" was the one being violated.
 
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archieclement

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Rhett was an adamant supporter of the concept of "states' rights". He simply understood that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was a massive violation of "states' rights" -- and he was perfectly OK with violating them in this case because it was northern states that were being violated in favor of "the South". He would have been loudly and publicly against it if "the South" was the one being violated.
You haven't gave any example of all why a FSL would be "states rights" when its clearly delegated to the FEDS in the constitution

You cite one guy, without any reasoning why something delegated by the constitution to the federal government should be considered states rights at all

The FSL was the law of the land, passed by the feds, and finally repealled by the feds in 1864...…that is a Federal issue not a state one.....and the supremacy clause favors the feds.
 
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trice

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You haven't gave any example of all why a FSL would be "states rights" when its clearly delegated to the FEDS in the constitution

You cite one guy, without any reasoning why something delegated by the constitution to the federal government should be considered states rights at all

The FSL was the law of the land, passed by the feds, and finally repealled by the feds in 1864...…that is a Federal issue not a state one.....and the supremacy clause favors the feds.
It is specifically the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 which is regarded as a massive violation of "states rights". It imposes Federal rule over the laws of the states, sets aside the state courts, requires state officials to obey and act as agents of the Federal law enforcement, and allows the Federal government to employ military force against the states and the people of the states. Which part of that do you think is not a violation of "states' rights"?
 

archieclement

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It is specifically the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 which is regarded as a massive violation of "states rights". It imposes Federal rule over the laws of the states, sets aside the state courts, requires state officials to obey and act as agents of the Federal law enforcement, and allows the Federal government to employ military force against the states and the people of the states. Which part of that do you think is not a violation of "states' rights"?
Very little, federal law is usually settled in federal courts, Military force is and has always been a option to enforce federal law when needed, otherwise military reconstruction would have been colossal violation of states rights. the only one that is somewhat a gray area is civil law enforcement generally does and should support federal officers, there have been times courts and wavered each way on that I believe, and still is somewhat disputed today.

Historians seldom accurately refer to Missourians during the Kansas troubles, they were often not border ruffians but actually representing the law. Kansans would defy forcibly US Marshalls, so they would swear in deputies, generally Missourians sympathetic to US law, being the loyal patriotic Americans we are
 
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trice

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Very little, federal law is usually settled in federal courts, Military force is and has always been a option to enforce federal law when needed, otherwise military reconstruction would have been colossal violation of states rights. the only one that is somewhat a gray area is civil law enforcement generally does and should support federal officers, there have been times courts and wavered each way on that I believe, and still is somewhat disputed today.

Historians seldom accurately refer to Missourians during the Kansas troubles, they were often not border ruffians but actually representing the law. Kansans would defy forcibly US Marshalls, so they would swear in deputies, generally Missourians sympathetic to US law, being the loyal patriotic Americans we are
Well, you are entitled to your opinion, but the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 was not enforced by Federal courts and judges. Instead a system of commissioners was set up to make decisions and exercise authority. Strangely, the commissioners were paid twice as much for deciding that a given man was a fugitive slave than they were for finding that the man was not a fugitive slave. How would you like to go before a man who would judge your fate, where you are prohibited from speaking in your own defense, knowing that he will be paid twice as much for condemning you as he will be for freeing you?

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 also gets rid of that little matter of one state having to use due process to request extradition from the state where the suspected fugitive slave is found. If the suspect is in New York, he can simply be sent back to Virginia without the State of New York having a word in the matter. (In 1861, the Supreme Court finds in Kentucky v. Denison that while the Governor has a duty to extradite a fugitive on the application of another state, the Federal government cannot use force to compel the Governor to carry out his duty; the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 says exactly the opposite.)
 

uaskme

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Well, you are entitled to your opinion, but the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 was not enforced by Federal courts and judges. Instead a system of commissioners was set up to make decisions and exercise authority. Strangely, the commissioners were paid twice as much for deciding that a given man was a fugitive slave than they were for finding that the man was not a fugitive slave. How would you like to go before a man who would judge your fate, where you are prohibited from speaking in your own defense, knowing that he will be paid twice as much for condemning you as he will be for freeing you?

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 also gets rid of that little matter of one state having to use due process to request extradition from the state where the suspected fugitive slave is found. If the suspect is in New York, he can simply be sent back to Virginia without the State of New York having a word in the matter. (In 1861, the Supreme Court finds in Kentucky v. Denison that while the Governor has a duty to extradite a fugitive on the application of another state, the Federal government cannot use force to compel the Governor to carry out his duty; the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 says exactly the opposite.)

Act passed 12 to 3 in the Senate and 76 to 31 in the House. So the Befuddled Northerners Voted for it, or refused to Vote. Pails in comparison to the Slave Trade that was centered in NYC. North was trying to get rid of their Blacks. So, it seems the majority of the Northerners had little problem with it. Roving Gangs in NYC and others abducted and sold Blacks south. After passage of the Act, Black Population in NYC drastically declined. Many Northerners though the South was the Home of the Blacks anyway.
 

archieclement

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Act passed 12 to 3 in the Senate and 76 to 31 in the House. So the Befuddled Northerners Voted for it, or refused to Vote. Pails in comparison to the Slave Trade that was centered in NYC. North was trying to get rid of their Blacks. So, it seems the majority of the Northerners had little problem with it. Roving Gangs in NYC and others abducted and sold Blacks south. After passage of the Act, Black Population in NYC drastically declined. Many Northerners though the South was the Home of the Blacks anyway.
He also strangely left out Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and California prohibited them from testifying in cases where a white man was a party anyway. 4 of the 5 were were states bordering slave states were the FSL didn't affect the right to speak in court as they couldn't have anyway. But they seem to cherry pick what they present, as one isn't supposed to use actual owners, or the population of the entire country even though we are referring to an entire country......and actual owners......
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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Reminding us the word ' owner ' was once legally representative of an ability to imagine anyone could own another human isn't very helpful to an OP counter argument. Whole thing makes me as nauseous as these bats flying around the screen.
 

trice

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Act passed 12 to 3 in the Senate and 76 to 31 in the House. So the Befuddled Northerners Voted for it, or refused to Vote. Pails in comparison to the Slave Trade that was centered in NYC. North was trying to get rid of their Blacks. So, it seems the majority of the Northerners had little problem with it. Roving Gangs in NYC and others abducted and sold Blacks south. After passage of the Act, Black Population in NYC drastically declined. Many Northerners though the South was the Home of the Blacks anyway.
This act passed as part of a package, the Compromise of 1850 -- which "the South" immediately started pushing to break, and did break with the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This is part of a pattern for the extremists of "the South": keep what favors them, break what does not.

It certainly is true that thousands of blacks in the Northern states fled to Canada after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed. The FSA set aside state law and allowed slave hunters unfettered access to grab black people claiming they were runaways. It paid the commissioners twice as much for deciding the accused was a runaway -- and muzzled the accused, preventing him from speaking in his own defense. Naturally enough, the hunted ran away from the hunter.

We shouldn't turn this into a debate on the Slave Trade -- but the fact is that the US made little effort to break up the Atlantic Slave Trade (despite their agreement with the British to do so) until the Republican Party rose in the late 1850s. Then the US Navy deployed a substantial effort off the coast of Africa, capturing more slave ships in one year (1860) than they had in a decade or two before that. This is also when the one and only US slave ship captain caught as a slaver was tried, convicted and sentenced to death.
 

archieclement

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Reminding us the word ' owner ' was once legally representative of an ability to imagine anyone could own another human isn't very helpful to an OP counter argument. Whole thing makes me as nauseous as these bats flying around the screen.
Well one probally should avoid the slavery topic if one cant handle the concept of owner, its pretty relevant to any historical discussion of slavery, it is was it was based upon. Some things if one wants an honest discussion cant be sugarcoated or avoided...…..And it was in fact legally recognized not just by the United States, but also most of the world. It wasnt some unique aberration confined to just the United States...Unpleasant history is still history and I would dare say relevant history of our past.

As far as helpful to the OP, the FSl was about the return to the legal owners by law, so not seeing how one would find either ownership or legal not relevant to the OP........would think more relevant then how nauseous one is, I experience it frequently from the chemo I've been taking, I generally dont include it in posts as it adds little to posts, other then in this case to show how irrelevant it is to a historical discussion
 
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I've actually seen some people argue that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was in fact supporting states rights because it merely enforced the property rights of Southerners from Northern interference, even in Northern territory. But I think this seems like a specious argument. Imagine if refugees from a country where slavery is still practiced fled to the US and asked for asylum. Would the US be obligated to return them to their owners demanding them back even though the US has abolished slavery? No, clearly they wouldn't. If you read the Wikipedia article on extradition treaties that exist between countries you can see they all have barriers against extradition for crimes that the extraditing country doesn't recognize or where the accused is likely to face harsh or inhumane punishments. Forcing a country to extradite accused law breakers to another country for crimes they don't even recognize would clearly be an infringement on that country's sovereignty, and the same would apply to states.

It seems like the Southern demands for fugitive slaves to be returned to them by Northern state governments and private individuals living in Northern states where slavery was abolished was an infringement on the rights of those Northern states, making the later claims of Southerners to be defending states rights seem quite hypocritical. Does anyone have an argument against that?
Economics
 

uaskme

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This act passed as part of a package, the Compromise of 1850 -- which "the South" immediately started pushing to break, and did break with the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This is part of a pattern for the extremists of "the South": keep what favors them, break what does not.

It certainly is true that thousands of blacks in the Northern states fled to Canada after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed. The FSA set aside state law and allowed slave hunters unfettered access to grab black people claiming they were runaways. It paid the commissioners twice as much for deciding the accused was a runaway -- and muzzled the accused, preventing him from speaking in his own defense. Naturally enough, the hunted ran away from the hunter.

We shouldn't turn this into a debate on the Slave Trade -- but the fact is that the US made little effort to break up the Atlantic Slave Trade (despite their agreement with the British to do so) until the Republican Party rose in the late 1850s. Then the US Navy deployed a substantial effort off the coast of Africa, capturing more slave ships in one year (1860) than they had in a decade or two before that. This is also when the one and only US slave ship captain caught as a slaver was tried, convicted and sentenced to death.
It was a Package Deal, just like the FSL, the Yankee agreed to in 1787.

This time they traded the Negro for all the Gold in California. Have to give them credit. One of their better Compromises. California, the State who had Slavery, Native American Slavery, and every other type of Slavery known to Man. There was always a Price on the Negro for the Yankee.

Just have to Giggle when the Northern Moralist continually dismiss their History and try to hide behind the Souths. California was another White Mans Theft. Stole Natives Land. Enslaved them. Didn't have to have a Foreign Slave Trade. If Whitey was real savvy, he could Murder a Native Male, get a Gold mining claim, claim his Wife and Child as a Slave. No Paperwork Required. Last time I looked, California, wasn't in the South.
 

trice

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It was a Package Deal, just like the FSL, the Yankee agreed to in 1787.

This time they traded the Negro for all the Gold in California. Have to give them credit. One of their better Compromises. California, the State who had Slavery, Native American Slavery, and every other type of Slavery known to Man. There was always a Price on the Negro for the Yankee.

Just have to Giggle when the Northern Moralist continually dismiss their History and try to hide behind the Souths. California was another White Mans Theft. Stole Natives Land. Enslaved them. Didn't have to have a Foreign Slave Trade. If Whitey was real savvy, he could Murder a Native Male, get a Gold mining claim, claim his Wife and Child as a Slave. No Paperwork Required. Last time I looked, California, wasn't in the South.
I am not sure where you came up with the above. It seems to have nothing to do with me, and darn little to do with the real events of the 1850s.
 
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