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Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

12 February 1793


Despite the inclusion of the Fugitive Slave Clause in the U.S. Constitution, anti-slavery sentiment remained high in the North throughout the late 1780s and early 1790s, and many petitioned Congress to abolish the practice outright. Bowing to further pressure from Southern lawmakers—who argued slave debate was driving a wedge between the newly created states—Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.

Article 4:

For the better security of the peace and friendship now entered into by the
contracting parties, against all infractions of the same, by the citizens of either party, to the prejudice of the other, neither party shall proceed to the infliction of punishments on the
citizens of the other, otherwise than by securing the offender, or offenders, by imprisonment, or any other competent means, till a fair and impartial trial can be had by judges or juries of
both parties, as near as can be, to the laws, customs, and usage's of the contracting parties, and natural justice: the mode of such trials to be hereafter fixed by the wise men of the
United States, in congress assembled, with the assistance of such deputies of the Delaware nation, as may be appointed to act in concert with them in adjusting this matter to their
mutual liking. And it is further agreed between the parties aforesaid, that neither shall entertain, or give countenance to, the enemies of the other, or protect, in their respective
states, criminal fugitives, servants, or slaves, but the same to apprehend and secure, and deliver to the state or states, to which such enemies, criminals, servants, or slaves, respectively below.