The Federal government never admits its laws are wrong, of course, and it made one law called the Fugitive Slave Act.
The Fugitive Slave Act was part of the Compromise of 1850, designed to maintain slavery in the United States while avoiding secession or civil war.
Its provisions were legally binding and favored turning alleged fugitive slaves who had escaped from their lawful owners and offered incentives for northerners to assist in the capture and delivery of these law breaking slaves.
After all, the law is the law.
On February 15, 1851, an escaped slave, a lawbreaker by the name of Shadrach Minkins, was arrested by federal agents and taken to a courtroom where a claim of ownership under the Fugitive Slave Act would be heard. Minkins, being a slave, was not afforded a trial by jury.
He would get a trial by government, with Judge George T. Curtis making the sole determination of whether or not the claimant legally owned Minkins.
After a brief hearing on February 15, Judge Curtis adjourned the proceedings. Minkins and his counsel remained in the courtroom conferring on legal strategy.
But by this time a lawless crowd gathered. Nearly 200 people congregated outside the courthouse, the hallway and stairs outside the courtroom.
They didn't like the law.
They didn't think that humans should be slaves.
But the law is the law.
Those outside the courtroom grew agitated.
Finally, the law enforcement officers could no longer keep the door shut. Many black and brown fingers gripped the edge of the door from the outside.
The words "Tear him away" and "Come in" echoed in the air.
In an instant, fifteen or twenty black men surged into the opening. Once in the courtroom, his rescuers took physical custody of Minkins and Minkins raced down the stairs, out of the courthouse, and escorted across the city where he was hidden in the attic of lawbreaker Elizabeth Riley, a few doors away from Lewis Hayden, a prominent Boston abolitionist and lawbreaker who helped rescue Minkins.
Within hours, the story was in the news, first locally in Boston and quickly thereafter across the country, with publications in favor and against the illegal act. Communications flew back and forth between government officials, as high up as President Millard Fillmore. Secretary of State Daniel Webster, who was staking his presidential aspirations on championing the Fugitive Slave Act, called the rescue an act of treason.
There were calls for Fillmore to send troops to quell the insurrection in Boston.
Fillmore issued Proclamation 56 – Calling On Citizens to Assist in the Recapture of Minkins.
Arrests began as government officials moved to make a public statement that the Fugitive Slave Act would be enforced. Within days, U.S. marshals arrested Elizur Wright, Charles G. Davis, John Foye, James Scott, Joseph K. Hayes, Thomas Paul Smith, Lewis Hayden, John P. Coburn and Robert Morris.
Nine men total were arrested for aiding in the rescue of Shadrach Minkins, seven of whom—five black and two white—would be charged, with their trials scheduled to begin in May of 1851.
Those trials resulted- to the government's great chagrin - in seven consecutive acquittals or hung juries. The highly public failure on the part of the government to secure even a single conviction of any of those suspects, with most if not all of those failures resulting from jury nullification made the Fugitive Slave Law almost unenforceable.
Now if only the juries had followed the law as it was given by the judge, the men who rescued Minkins would have been all convicted and punished and Minkins himself would have been returned to his legal owner and remained a slave in accordance with the law.
Other trials for other slaves rescuers came out similarly with juries nullifying by acquittals or by hung juries.
Pretty soon the government could not enforce the Fugitive Slave Law. Juries (or trial by the people) said no to the law.
Such is the purpose of the jury; it is the redeemer of our freedoms.
This led to a break down in the Compromise of 1850 that was to preserve slavery and the next thing you know there was a Civil War that freed the slaves.
It was the jury that started it.
If only those jurors had obeyed the law and not nullified, America might still have slaves to this day.
Come to think of it since people today are far too stupid to know about jury nullification, they are every day becoming more like slaves.
They want government to do everything for them - even decide when and how to make them slaves.