Due to a special event, on Wednesday, July 8, there will be no tours of the U.S. Capitol after 11 a.m. Emancipation Hall and Exhibition Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center will be unavailable all day. While reservations prior to 11 a.m. will be honored, same-day passes will not be available. The Capitol Visitor Center will close at noon except for individuals on official business and those going to the House and Senate Galleries.

Exhibit Theme

Balancing Sectional Interests

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The Fugitive Slave Law, n.d. ca....
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The Fugitive Slave Law, n.d. ca. 1850

Under the Fugitive Slave Law, Congress supported slaveholders’ rights to recover escaped slaves. The law authorized federal commissioners to arrest and return fugitives solely on the basis of a claim by the purported owner, without testimony or trial. The law fined or imprisoned citizens who aided runaways, and it did not protect free blacks wrongly arrested.

Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress