Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: “The only way to make the Fugitive Slave Law a dead letter, said African American leader Frederick Douglass, “is to make half a dozen or more dead kidnappers.” Nothing was more illustrative of the deteriorating national situation in the 1850s than the poisonous circumstances surrounding fugitive slaves and the federal assistance demanded by the South in its securing human property. The greater the success the South had, the more vigorous was the resistance in the north. It did not take long after the 1850 law went into effect that it was dipped in blood.