The Fugitive Slave Acts were a pair of federal laws that allowed for the capture and return of run away slaves within the territory of the United States. Enacted by congress in 1793, the first Fugitive Slave Act authorized local governments to seize and return escaped slaves to their owners and imposed penalties on anyone who aided in their fights. Widespread resistance to the 1793 law later led to the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which added further provisions regarding run away and levied even harsher punishments for interfering in their capture. The Fugitive Slave Acts were among the most controversial laws of the early 19th centary, and many northern states passed special legislation in an attempt to circumvent them. Both laws were formally repealed by an act of congress in 1864.