What is Fugitive Slave Laws?

Legal Definition
The fugitive slave laws were laws passed by the United States Congress in 1793 and 1850 to provide for the return of slaves who escaped from one state into another state or territory. The idea of the fugitive slave law was derived from the Fugitive Slave Clause which is in the United States Constitution (Article IV, Section 2, Paragraph 3). It was thought that forcing states to deliver escaped slaves to slave owners violated states' rights due to state sovereignty and was believed that seizing state property should not be left up to the states. The Fugitive Slave Clause states that escaped slaves "shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due", which abridged state rights because retrieving slaves was a form of retrieving private property. After the compromise of 1850, the Supreme Court made slavery a protected institution and arranged a series of laws that allowed slavery in the new territories and forced officials in Free States to give a hearing to slaveholders without a jury.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
An act of congress passed in 1793 (and also one enacted in 1850) providing for the surrender and deportation of slaves who escaped from their masters and fled into the territory of another state, generally a "free" state.
-- Black's Law Dictionary