Fugitive Slave Law Research Paper

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Since the spoken word, hundreds of philosophers have defined law in different ways. Philosophy allows people to study the nature of people’s beliefs which can differ over time. Not even the law is exempt from the opinions of philosophers. Seeing law in different ways allows people to come to different conclusions about legal cases. The Fugitive Slave Law was a controversial law in American history, which allowed slave-owners to capture their slaves who have fled north to free states. Once, a group of emancipators in Boston was tried for helping an escaped slave flee to Canada. These emancipators challenged the Fugitive Slave Law in United States v Morris. According to the Fugitive Slave Law, helping an escaped slave is in violation of…show more content…
People follow the law because a judge enacts a sanction if the person does not follow the law. Sanctions lead people to follow laws if they are moral or not. Today, we can discern that the Fugitive Slave Law was clearly immoral. Beside it not being moral, jurors in Boston were refusing to find people guilty of acting against the Fugitive Slave Law. To decide if the Fugitive Slave Law was, in fact, a law a positivist would first consider if political superiors have enforced the law. In the North, jurors found few people guilty, unlike in the South. In addition, occasional enforcement of a law does not equate for a law to be a real law. Since the superiors did not enforce the Fugitive Slave Law, a positivist would say the jurors did the right thing in view of the Fugitive Slave Law was not a law. Since it was not a law, the jurors did the right thing in Morris. 
 Legal Realism is similar to the Positivist’s ideas of the law which justifies the actions of the jurors’. The legal realist Holmes and Frank define legal realism. The two of them agree that the law is what the judges say it is; additionally, the study of the law is the science of prediction which is lawyers are predicting how judges will…show more content…
Although not all legal philosophers think alike, some of them will probably believe the jurors in Morris did the wrong thing. In addition, H.L.A Hart has a differing view on Positivism. Hart agrees with Austin on the how Constitutions shape the laws. In addition, Hart sees the law as a system of rules which he calls primary and secondary rules. Primary rules are the do’s and don’ts of society. Secondary rules tell us how to revise the rules. The Constitution is in charge being we as people act as it is. Thus, regarding the Fugitive Slave Law, the jurors did the wrong action seeing they did not uphold their legal obligation to enforce the law. The law decreed no one may aid in helping free a slave; hence, people cannot question Congress should not be because the law states no one may assist in helping a slave to escape to freedom. People cannot question laws coming from legal authorities. Thus, Hart would state the jurors had a legal obligation to enforce the law. While it is true that jurors had an obligation to uphold the law, it does not necessarily follow that the jurors in Morris did the wrong thing. The Fugitive Slave Law was a question of morality; clearly, it did not uphold to morality.
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