Today In History Spotlights Mar. 13, 1862, The Fugitive Slave Clause is Annulled

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Today’s History Spotlight

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The US government forbids Union Army officers from returning fugitive slaves, annulling the Fugitive Slave Clause. This act was introduced with the Compromise of 1850, which admitted California into the union as a free state, while simultaneously admitting new territory in Texas and the New Mexico Territory. Slavery was undecided in the latter.

With the federal government prohibiting Union officers from returning fugitive slaves, the stage was set for the Emancipation Proclamation. President Abraham Lincoln signed the document on January 1, 1863, though most slaves did not officially see freedom until the Civil War’s end. Some officers began referring to fugitive slaves as “contraband” to prevent them from being returned to Confederate territory.

What Happened On This Day – March 13

  • 2013 Pope Francis succeeds Pope Benedict XVIJorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina became the 266th leader of the Catholic Church, which has 1.2 billion members around the world.
  • 1997 A series of unidentified lights appear over Phoenix, ArizonaThe Phoenix Lights caused heated debate in the UFO community. It emerged later that some of the lights were caused by illumination flares dropped from a U.S. Air Force plane.
  • 1943 German troops liquidate the Jewish ghetto in KrakówThousands of men, women and children were murdered by the nazis or deported to extermination camps. The horrific event is portrayed in the film, Schindler’s List.
  • 1845 Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto is premieredThe German composer’s opus 64 is one of the most frequently performed violin concertos in history.
  • 1781 Uranus is discoveredGerman-born British astronomer William Herschel is credited with the planet’s discovery. It is the third largest planet by radius in the solar system.

Births On This Day – March 13

  • 1985 Matt JacksonAmerican wrestler
  • 1939 Neil SedakaAmerican singer-songwriter, pianist
  • 1911 L. Ron HubbardAmerican religious leader, author, founded the Church of Scientology
  • 1907 Mircea EliadeRomanian historian, author
  • 1733 Joseph PriestleyEnglish chemist, minister, philosopher

Deaths On This Day – March 13

  • 1906 Susan B. AnthonyAmerican activist
  • 1901 Benjamin HarrisonAmerican politician, 23rd President of the United States
  • 1881 Alexander II of Russia
  • 1879 Adolf AnderssenGerman chess player
  • 1842 Henry ShrapnelEnglish army officer

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Garrett Smith
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