Virginia Slave Code

(1860)

Explanation and Analysis of the Document

The provisions added to the Code of Virginia in 1860 touched on a number of issues. One was the disposition of slaves who were under a sentence of death. A second was the establishment of courts, jails, and other legal apparatus for dealing with slaves. A third called for the breaking up of assemblies of African Americans, which were a source of fear among white Virginians in the climate of the 1850s. A key set of provisions dealt specifically with the issue of runaway slaves. The Virginia legislature also included provisions having to do...

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Illustration of African Americans escaping from slavery (Library of Congress)

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