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Statutes are laws made by legislative bodies and distinguished from case law which is decided by courts, and regulations issued by government agencies. Statutory laws are made at both the both the state and the Federal levels and are put into practice differently depending on how the executive enacts the laws and the judiciary interprets them.
While laws pertaining to the particulars of slavery were left to the states, federal law governed many issues relating to the international slave trade, the status of slavery across state boundaries (the Fugitive Slave Laws, for example), and the status of slavery in teritories.
Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Law
Compilation of state and federal cases pertaining to slavery, as drawn from colonial records, state and federal reporters and other sources. This source includes many cases that are not readily available anywhere else.
Use the "Look up a Legal Case" option to find state and federal decisions. Works best for known citations or parties.
Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860
Contains over a hundred pamphlets and books concerning the experiences of African and African-American slaves in the American colonies and the United States. The documents comprise an assortment of trials and cases, reports, arguments, accounts, examinations of cases and decisions, proceedings, and other works of historical importance.
Making of Modern Law: Trials 1600-1926
Based on holdings of the law libraries of Harvard and Yale, and the Library of the Bar of the City of New York.
Slavery and Anti-Slavery
Large collection of abolitionist and african-american papers, legal documents and other material published in the 19th century.
Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice
Vast collection of resources related to slavery. Includes manuscript case files from North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana and Missouri. Limit documents to type "court records" to find them.
Petitions to Southern Legislatures, 1777-1867
All extant relevant legislative petitions and a selected group of county court petitions from the slaveholding states and the District of Columbia, during the period from the American Revolution through the Civil War. Topics include information on slaves as property, interracial mixing, divorce, free blacks, more.
Transcripts of discussion in Congress. Run a search and then limit by date and to comments to find comments in Congress relating to topics in which you are interested or to follow debates chronologically.
Making of Modern Law: Treatises on American and British law, 1800-1926
Collections of legal treatises that provide insight to how laws and legal positions were interpreted at the time the treaties was written.
Law reviews and legal scholarship
Choose the "Law Journal Library" and after your search limit to "articles" and limit by date. Articles will provide contemporary scholarship on legal issues of the antebellum period.
Records of the American Colonies
Compilation of colonial records, including laws, cases and political activity.