Who was the slave woman at the center of the Supreme Court case Prigg v. Pennsylvania, and what happened to her after the case?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The slave woman's name was Margaret Morgan. She escaped from slavery in Maryland and came to Pennsylvania, where slavery was outlawed, with her children in 1832. She then had one child in Pennsylvania. Morgan's owner, Margaret Ashmore, retained an attorney, Edward Prigg, as an agent to secure Morgan's return. Prigg persuaded a local justice of the peace to raise a posse to arrest Morgan under the Fugitive Slave Act.  Pennsylvania then arrested Prigg for violating laws about fugitive slaves, and the ensuing case went to the Supreme Court, where Prigg claimed that the Constitution required Pennsylvania to return the slaves. In short, it was a question of federal against state law. The Supreme Court agreed with Prigg by an 8-1 margin, and Morgan and her family went back into bondage. The circumstances of her return, as well as the details of the rest of her life, are sadly unknown.

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