SAT Subject US History Practice Question 953: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 953

34. As part of the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Law stated that

A. all African Americans were slaves.
B. all African Americans suspected of being slaves should be brought to a trial by jury.
C. every accused African American had the right to a defense lawyer.
D. all citizens were responsible for catching fugitive slaves.
E. each state had to determine whether it would comply with the law.

Correct Answer: D


The Fugitive Slave Law required that every citizen become a slave-catcher. It provoked street fights in the North between those willing to protect the accused and those who cooperated with the slaveholders. All African Americans (A) were not slaves in 1850, although many free people of color were accused of being fugitives. The law provided for neither trial by jury (B) nor defense counsel (C). As a federal law, it required compliance (E) by all the states.

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