What was the real impact of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850?
It made slavery a national institution, even in the Northern states that outlawed slavery. It gave the Federal government the authority to override the northern legal processes. This law also brought northern whites' humanity into play. For example, when a fugitive slave was escaping and federal marshals are looking for him, northern whites had to decide whether they were going to let it happen or if they were going to help this fellow human being.