The Politics of Fugitive Slave Rendition and the Coming of the Civil War


Drawing from political history, legal theory, and the study of enslaved resistance, my book manuscript, The Politics of Fugitive Slave Rendition and the Coming of the Civil War, uncovers the conflict surrounding the contested legal rights of people accused of being fugitive slaves and argues that their activism fueled the politics of abolition. 

African Americans accused of being fugitive slaves asserted that due process rights were critical in their struggle against kidnapping. These claims spurred political fights about African Americans’ citizenship rights in the federal system. Slaveholders, on the other hand, claimed that any recognition of Black legal rights in the United States threatened the comprehensive property right that formed the backbone of their economic domination. My book manuscript tells the story of how that conflict, over eight decades, paved the road to the Civil War and the destruction of United States slavery. 

My manuscript is under advance contract with Louisiana State University Press’s “Antislavery, Abolition, and the Atlantic World” book series, edited by R. J. M. Blackett and Edward Rugemer. 
 


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