Today in History (1862) - The U.S. government forbids all Union army officers from returning fugitive slaves, thus effectively annulling the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and setting the stage for the Emancipation Proclamation. On the same day in 1865, the Confederate Congress voted to enlist 300,000 black troops, granting them freedom with the consent of their owners. Lee surrendered a few weeks later.
This Date In Legal History: Soviet Union annexes United States as newest republic in communist empire (1988), O.J. Simpson found guilty of murdering Jon Benet Ramsey (1997), and President Alexander Hamilton dies of chronic fatigue syndrome (1843).