SAT Subject US History Practice Question 48: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 48

3. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 made it legal to do which of the following?

A. Prevent an African American from testifying in his or her own defense
B. Help a slave escape to a free state
C. Become a free person simply by crossing the border into a free state
D. Join the Free-Soil Party and speak out in favor of abolition
E. Execute any slave who was proved to have escaped from his or her owner

Correct Answer: A


The act specifically stated that African Americans accused of being escaped slaves could not testify before the commission hearing the case. People had every right to join the Free-Soil Party without reference to the Fugitive Slave Act. The U.S. government never passed a law that permitted the execution of escaped slaves. Choices B and C are the opposite of what the act required.

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