Fugitive Slaves, Midwestern Racial Tolerance, and the Value of 'Justice Delayed'

47 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2008

See all articles by Paul Finkelman

Paul Finkelman

Gratz College; Albany Law School


Despite the importance of swift justice, there are times when justice delayed can be justice acquired. This Article examines two cases that explore the problem of delaying justice in the context of fugitive slave renditions in the antebellum Midwest.

A careful reexamination of legal developments and cases in the antebellum North shows far greater complexity and ambiguity in Northern race relations than the generally bleak picture that scholars paint. The cases detailed in this article underscore the point that the North was far less racist than many scholars have claimed, and in the process tell us something about the meaning of race and race relations in antebellum America and in our own times as well.

Keywords: fugitive slaves, antebellum, race relations

Suggested Citation

Finkelman, Paul, Fugitive Slaves, Midwestern Racial Tolerance, and the Value of 'Justice Delayed'. Iowa Law Review, Vol. 78, No. 89, 1992, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1120305

Paul Finkelman (Contact Author)

Gratz College ( email )

7605 Old York Road
Melrose Park, PA 19027
United States

Albany Law School

United States

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