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Vermont repeals its Personal Liberty Law

New Hampshire and Vermont, 1857, zoomable map
05/10/1861
A few weeks after the firing on Fort Sumter, Vermont repealed its Personal Liberty Law, calling it "inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States." The 1858 law had been passed in Vermont as a direct challenge to the federal Fugitive Slave Law. The powerful legislation was explicit in its defense of escaped slaves, saying at one point that any slave reaching the state was deemed to be free and that anyone attempting to hold such a person shall be liable to a fine and fifteen years in prison. (By John Osborne)
Source Citation: 
Charlton Thomas Lewis, Joseph H. Willsey, Harper's Book of Facts: A Classified History of the World; Embracing Science, Literature, and Art (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1895), 905.

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