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Shaping the Nation and the Presidency
1850 The Fugitive Slave Law

The Louisiana Purchase

The Trail of Tears

The Fugitive Slave Law

Gettysburg Address &
Emancipation Proclamation

18th Amendment Repealed

First Televised Presidential

Civil Rights Act

Persian Gulf

Make the connection between President Millard Fillmore and the Fugitive Slave Law.

Millard Fillmore
from American Presidents

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During Millard Fillmore's presidency, the country was becoming more and more divided over the issue of slavery. He reluctantly signed the Fugitive Slave Act, a part of the Compromise of 1850, making it a federal crime to assist or harbor an escaped slave. He believed the measure would placate the South and preserve the Union, but knew it would have a damaging impact on his own political career.

Harriet Beecher Stowe
from American Writers

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Harriet Beecher Stowe lived in Cincinnati for eighteen years (1832-1850) during which time this border town in a border state became an abolitionist stronghold. The passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 was among the causes that compelled Harriet Beecher Stowe to write Uncle Tom's Cabin. The book was a best seller and had the capability to give its readers insight into the plight of the slaves in the South, and the effects of the government's policies.

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