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Resistance (Todd, 1986)

Textbook

Lewis Paul Todd and Merle Curti, Triumph of the American Nation (Orlando: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, 1986), 399.

The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which was part of the Compromise of 1850, also helped to keep the issue of slavery before the people.  The writer Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed the feelings of most militant abolitionists about the Fugitive Slave Law when he wrote 'this filthy enactment was made in the nineteenth century by people who could read and write.  I will not obey it.'  Several northern states responded to the pressure of abolitionists.  These states openly defied the Fugitive Slave Law by passing 'personal liberty laws.' Such Laws forbade local officials to help in the capture and return of fugitive slaves.  Many northerners defied the Fugitive Slave Law.  Meanwhile, some southerners talked of increasing their power in Congress by acquiring new slave territory.  The Spanish colony of Cuba seemed especially attractive.  In fact, many advocates of manifest destiny, or expansionism, had long hoped to gain control over that island.
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