One of the ways that the US Constitution baked the institution of slavery into the very core of the new United States was through the fugitive slave clause. The clause required that people who escaped slavery be returned to their enslavers. In parts of the US that didn’t want slavery, the clause sometimes went unenforced. Today we’ll learn about how Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 to enforce that clause, how enslavers throughout the country used that rule, and the long-term effects of this law.

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