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Essay on The Underground Railroad

It all began in Africa were the Portuguese captured native people in the early 1400’s to be sold as slaves. It is estimated that between 1450 and 1850 about 12 million people were captured and sold into a life of slavery. About 5% were delivered to British North America, which later became the United States. Canada had some slaves, but the short growing season made it uneconomical to keep them.

Life for a slave in the US was inhuman. They were beaten, whipped and forced to obey their owners, who were white plantation owners or …show more content…

In Upper Canada in 1793, the Upper Canada Abolition Act was introduced by Lieutenant Governor Colonel John Graves Simcoe. This freed any slave entering Upper Canada and said that any child born to a slave mother, would be free by the age of 25. This act was later followed by the British Imperial Act of 1833 which abolished slavery throughout the British Empire, including Canada.

However, in the US, in 1850 they passed the Fugitive Act, which increased the slave owner’s rights. The court ruled that blacks were not citizens, so didn’t have any rights to freedoms stated in the Constitution. This meant that slave owners could either hunt runaway slaves themselves or hire brutal slave hunters to track them down. Thus, the Underground Railway began to form.

. After the War of 1812, black soldiers came home to the South with stories of non- existent slavery in the north, so people began to hope for freedom. The earliest escape attempts by slaves were not organized, but these escapes began to form the paths and trails that led to the Underground Railway. It became a vast network of people, black and white, from many different

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Underground Railroad Essay

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. Alicia Brackin Professor Withee History 1301 October 27, 2014 The Underground Railroad The Underground Railroad was a network set up by abolitionists who wanted to help slaves escape their institution of slavery and be lead to freedom. It was the first major anti-slavery movement kept secret by the North due to them despising the treatment of slaves. It started as a result of the Fugitive Slave Act passed in 1850 (finalizing the Fugitive Slave Laws of 1793) declaring any escaped slave to be rightfully returned to their owner no matter what state the slave had made it to. The term “Underground Railroad” refers to a verbal code used to describe the steps to where slaves were disappearing and taking off. When referencing the Underground Railroad, slaves were known as “freight”, abolitionists were known as “conductors”, safe-houses were “stations”, and the routes they used were known as “lines”. The terminology used regarding this network was incorporated as if they were on an actual railroad journey. Between 1830 and 1865, the Underground Railroad would reach its high as an outstanding amount of abolitionists’ assisted large numbers of slaves to freedom. There were many reasons for slaves to seek freedom. Slaves were sold to whoever wanted one regardless if they were separating them from their families or not. The really.

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. The Underground Railroad One of the most shameful periods in history was the institution of slavery in the nineteenth century 2. Slavery was a divided issue in the 1800’s. Most slaves brought to America were known as low class people who could bring no good, but history fails to state that many of the slaves who came were people of many trades, ambitions, as well as determinations. The Underground Railroad had its earliest beginnings with runaway slaves fleeing from the Southern United States into Canada. By confronting human bondage without direct demands or violence, the Underground Railroad played a definite role in the destruction of slavery. The Underground Railroad was a term used to describe a network of people who helped escaped slaves on their way to freedom. Supposedly, the term Underground Railroad originated when an enslaved runaway, Tice Davids, fled from Kentucky and may have taken refuge with John Rankin, a White abolitionist, in Ripley, Ohio. Determined to retrieve his property, the owner chased Davids to the Ohio River, but Davids suddenly disappeared without a trace, leaving his owner confused and wondering if the slave had "gone off on some underground road." The Railroad was begun as a result of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 2. The Fugitive Slave Act demanded that if an.

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. The Underground Railroad existed for nearly forty years and was at its peak during 1810 to 1850. It was “a secret network of people working together who dared to put themselves at risk for what they knew was right. It had no one leader, no official existence, and no formal organization. It had no engines, and no trains; it had stations, but no tracks. Its passengers traveled without tickets and its conductors blew no whistles”.[1] The Underground Railroad got its name when one slave by the name of Tice Davids escaped from his master. He jumped into the Ohio River and swam to the other side. His master pursued him only to find that he had vanished without a trace. His master was sure that he had escaped on a secret railroad, perhaps something that ran underground. The Underground Railroad was the perfect designation as most people couldn’t see it, and it seemed to run swiftly and regularly. During a time when blacks were not permitted to read or write, were bought and sold like property, and were treated much like cattle, more than 30 000 escaped to freedom using an intricate system of escape routes aided by freed slaves, blacks born free, and northern abolitionists, most of whom were white. The routes traveled by the slaves lead them North to Canada. Other routes allowed them to escape to both Mexico and the Caribbean. Their freedom did not come.

The Underground Railroad Essay

. “The Color Purple” research project End of slavery is the USA – The Underground Railroad Even from the beginning of the USA slavery was the norm. White people owned the black people and made them work for them, long days, hard work and in terrible conditions. However some people realised that this was wrong. The earliest recorded rescue of slaves was in 1787 when Isaac Hopper began helping slaves escape from their owners and live free lives as they deserved. By the 1820’s this operation was in full swing across the states, with many people joining in this heroic deed. As this whole operation grew larger and more structured it gained the name “The Underground Railroad” however the most vital point to understand is that it was neither underground nor anything to do with trains. The Underground Railroad was a secret network of roads used to lead slaves to the “free” states in the north and Canada. For the abolitionists and the slaves themselves, this was a dangerous and long trek which could last up to two years. Thanks to the outstanding efforts made by the “train masters”, or people who orchestrated the passage of slaves to freedom (particularly Harriet Tubman, a former slave, and Levi Coffin, the reputed president of the Underground Railroad) and the owners of safe houses (places for the slaves to rest between journeys), many slaves escaped to.

Essay on Underground Railroad

. The Underground Railroad The Underground Railroad is a group of trails, paths, swamps and hide- outs that the southern slaves used to get from southern slave States to the Northern States for freedom during and before the civil war. It was a secret system developed to aid fugitive slaves on their escape to freedom. The southern states had slavery and the northern states made slavery illegal and tried freeing the southern States slaves. The Underground Railroad got its name because its activities had to be carried out in secret, using darkness or disguise, and because railway terms were used by those involved with system to describe how it worked. Various routes were called lines and stopping places were called stations. Those who aided along the way were conductors and their charges were known as packages or freight. The network of routes extended through 14 Northern states and “the promised land” of Canada–beyond the reach of fugitive-slave hunters. Maps A and Maps B illustrate the Underground Railroad passages slaves used to escape slavery. The path to freedom on the Underground Railroad was dangerous. Slaves had to travel long distances by foot in a short amount of time. They often had little or no food or protections from wild animals or slave catchers trying to chase them. Rewards posters were put out offering payment of the.

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The Underground Railroad was a term used to describe a network of people who helped escaped slaves on their way to freedom. Supposedly, the term Underground Railroad originated when an enslaved runaway, Tice Davids, fled from Kentucky and may have taken refuge with John Rankin, a White abolitionist, in Ripley, Ohio. Determined to retrieve his property, the owner chased Davids to the Ohio River, but Davids suddenly disappeared without a trace, leaving his owner confused and wondering if the slave had "gone off on some underground road." The Railroad was begun as a result of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 2. The Fugitive Slave Act demanded that if an escaped slave was sighted, he or she must be turned in and sent back to the rightful owner 2. The Nation grew divided on the slavery question. The Fugitive Slave Law called for the return of bonded and indentured runaways, as well as freed African Americans. This threatened the protection of the freed slaves. Many North American indentured slaves were freed after they had served their time after five to seven years 6. Most runaways were males, however women and children did escape. Their numbers were smaller because they were more likely to be captured. Yet, The Underground Railroad became the most dramatic protest action against slavery in United States history 2. The Railroad helped escaped slaves make their way from the Southern states through the northern states, into freedom. The Underground Railroad was operating in America, yet it was not a railroad and was not underground. This “railroad” was for blacks escaping from slavery in the South. They were escaping to the free North, and to Canada where there was no slavery at all. The Underground Railroad lacked in formal organization, relying on individuals or various groups.

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The most famous active railroad worker was an escaped slave named Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman was an ex-slave herself and was born of slave parents. Born on Maryland’s eastern shore, Harriet grew up illiterate, because slaves were not allowed to read or write 6. In 1849, Harriet Tubman made plans to escape her life of slavery. She followed the stars and knew of only two Northern states, New Jersey and Pennsylvania 1. She finally made it to Philadelphia, where she found work and saved her money. There was never a devised escape plan for any runaway because the journey was very random. Runaways could not travel normal roads because slave catchers patrolled them. They had to retreat to the more dangerous routes of swamp, forests, and mountains. Rewards, sometimes up to forty thousand dollars, were placed for Tubman’s capture, considering the huge roll she played in the railroad movement. Frederick Douglas once said, “I know of no one who has willingly encountered more pains and hardships to serve our enslaved people than Harriet Tubman” 5. Tubman managed to lead over two hundred slaves to freedom throughout her life 6. She made over nineteen trips to the South to help over three hundred slaves escape 2. Tubman worked for the Union during the Civil War as a cook, a nurse, and a spy. She later settled in New York after the war until her death in 1913 5. Never losing a fugitive or allowing one to turn back, Tubman had boundless courage.

The Underground Railroad stretched for thousands of miles. From Kentucky and Virginia across Ohio and Indiana, the railroad was a great journey. In the Northerly direction, it stretched from Maryland, across Pennsylvania and into New York and through New England 2.

By looking at the map above, many routes were available for runaways though each journey is considerably long. Using modern roads the trip would be five hundred and sixty miles. The route was an important part of a successful escape. Some fugitives hid out in bushes and swamps for days until it was safe to continue on. Quickness was not the main concern, but safety was the most important. The slaves were secretly transported from safe house to safe house until freedom was secured. The transport worked like a railroad. The act of transporting the escaped slaves incorporated all the terms used as if they were on a railroad journey. The routes used to transport slaves were called lines. Stopping places were called stations 2. Those who aided fugitive slaves were known as conductors, and the slaves were known as freight 2. The Underground Railroad movement was responsible for helping approximately seventy thousand salves escape into Canada and freedom 2.

The definite role played by the Underground Railroad eventually helped destroy the slavery issue in the United States. By the end of the 1850s, the slavery controversy continued to split the nation further apart as the north and south refused to agree on a solution 5. While the Civil War captured the attention of the country, underground activity continued as thousands of enslaved African Americans deserted their plantations and took refuge within Union lines. With the help of more than 180,000 African American soldiers and spies, Union forces secured victory over the Confederacy in 1865 5. Immediately following the war, the need for underground activities ceased when the thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution officially liberated more than four million enslaved African Americans. The Underground Railroad played a tremendous part in the end to slavery, which through all the hard work and continuous efforts was finally brought to justice.

Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad A lot of people in todays modern world don’t know that the Underground Railroad wasn’t actually a railroad. It was actually a series of houses, shops, and hotels/motels that would provide blacks a way to escape slavery in the south by going north. These buildings were known as stations and the slaves were known as cargo. Between 181 5 and 1860, it is estimated that 130,000 refugees escaped the south via the Underground Railroad. The railroad had as many as 3,200 active workers spread out across the stations who were all doing their part in the fght against slavery.

These workers were also known as conductors. Even though it was against the law to participate in the unauthorized transportation of slaves, many people risked everything to support the cause. This “railroad,” was one of the most remarkable protests against slavery in United States history. These slaves weren’t Just fghting for personal survival; they were fghting for the future of the entire African American race. As these activists risked their lives for the betterment of a society, they created a milestone in American History that lead to a more civilized world.

The Underground Railroad began as a possible solution to the freeing of slaves during the harsh sectional tensions between the North and the South in the 1800s. There was a drastic increase in slaves throughout the South of the United States as tobacco and rice plantations became the basis of its economic dependency. The cotton grown along the coast of Georgia and South Carolina differed from the cotton produced further inland, making it a top cash crop in the South. Without the working of slaves on these plantations, the financial state of the South would be destroyed.

There were many codes and laws that prohibited slaves from practicing medicine, owning guns, raising animals, testifying against whites, and gathering in groups of five or more. Slaves couldn’t even practice their own religions without being supervised by a white owner. With the exception of those in Maryland, Kentucky, and the city of Washington, slaves were not legally allowed to learn to read or write. In addition to the personal restrictions of the individual slave, many white slave owners attacked relationships between slave families.

Although slaves could live together as usband and wife, their marriage contracts were not even considered valid. Slave masters often separated families when selling slaves to other plantation owners. Slave owners expected mothers of newborn infants to return to work a week after giving birth. Women in the fields were forced to leave their babies unattended in the shade and were only allowed to hold and feed them twice a day. One woman reported returning to her baby son only to find a large snake curled around his body.

She vowed at that moment to seek freedom for herself and her child. Antislavery ideas were present around the world beginning in the 17th century. Various Quaker groups created an antislavery mentality that dictated the morals of their practices. The Presbyterian Church was also an active force in the early fght against slavery. The church declared that slavery was “inconsistent with the law of God and totally irreconcilable with the gospel of Christ. ” In the 1800s, antislavery became a more popular viewpoint as the North began to declare slavery unlawful.

Emerging from New England came the Abolitionists, who otten promoted their antislavery beliets through newspapers, pamphlets, and other written tracts. In 1829, a free African American, David Walker, published a seventy-six-page antislavery pamphlet, “An appeal to the Colored People of the World. ” This pleaded for slaves to rebel against their white masters and that a better day was approaching in America. As the “Appeal” became more widespread, Southern plantation owners generated a true fear that the power of free blacks was beginning to make a difference on the viewpoints of slavery.

One of the most famous abolitionists was William Lloyd Garrison, who published the first issue of The Liberator. The Liberator was an antislavery newspaper that called for the universal emancipation of the slave. In 1833, Garrison met in Philadelphia with sixty-three delegates from eleven states to form the American Anti- Slavery Society. Lucretia Mott, a Quaker woman, formed the Female Anti-Slavery Society. This organization sponsored antislavery lectures, organized fairs to raise money for printing pamphlets, and started schools for African-American children.

Frederick Douglass, a fugitive slave, teamed up with Garrison and became a prominent orator for abolitionists throughout the United States. Douglass was an extremely persuasive fgure in African American society because he could energize a crowd with his writings and speeches. Douglass began his own newspaper, The North Star, which further advocated his antislavery beliefs by recounting his own experience as a slave. He once wrote, “He who has endured the cruel pangs of Slavery is the man to advocate Liberty.

It is evident we must be our own representatives and advocates – not exclusively, but peculiarly – not distinct from, but in connection with our white friends. ” These individuals were the first activists to successfully spread antislavery ideas and form the basis of what became the Underground Railroad. The first record of what was to become the Underground Railroad was on May 12th, 1786 with a letter from General George Washington. Washington wrote from his home in Virginia that “a society of Quakers in the city, formed for such purposes, have attempted to liberate” a slave who escaped to Philadelphia from Alexandria.

Later that year, Washington wrote another letter referring to an escaped slave and said it might not be easy to catch him “when there are numbers who would rather facilitate the escape of slaves than apprehend them. ” Those who assisted slaves in their escape did not often leave written accounts with specific details of their activities. They preferred to keep their deeds hidden and their identities anonymous. However, there are enough records collected until modern day that have led historians to conclude that organized assistance to runaway slaves grew steadily during the nineteenth century until the outbreak of the Civil War.

Most slaves traveled at night when the dark could offer them some measure of protection. They used the local “railroad conductors” to help gain knowledge of local terrain. A riverbank could act as a marker or a landmark. On clear nights, many slaves looked up to the North Star for guidance. Otherwise, there was not much assistance in navigation. Fugitives began to learn more about their surroundings in order to survive. Many would change their names and rub the soles of their shoes with onions to lead the hounds astray.

Clearly, a successful escape plan most often involved more than one means of transportation. Some runaway slaves hid in freight cars and were sometimes even given regular tickets on train lines. Many conductors accompanied them and devised methods for travel. Fugitives and their conductors worked together to avoid capture in the Underground Railroad. Knocks, passwords, and station keepers were all involved in the escaping process. The Underground Railroad grew increasingly dangerous as Fugitive Slave Laws became enacted throughout the United States.

With these new restrictions, slaves were no longer free as soon as they reached the North. With the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, many conductors of the Underground Railroad felt threatened by the possibility of imprisonment. Punishment was often severe for those who were involved in the rescuing of slaves. Slaves themselves were returned to their original owner to accept various means of discipline. Before the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law, slaves who escaped to the North soon discovered that their freedom came with a price. Slaves could not often acquire Jobs or find skilled occupations.

They would be turned away at certain restaurants and were denied the access of many schools and churches. Public transportation was still extremely segregated and many accommodations were immediately refused to African-Americans. Many slaves felt that escaping to Canada or Great Britain was the only alternative to facing an unjust society. As the North became a more threatening escape route, many slaves began to create Railroads into Canada. When American soldiers of the War of 1812 claimed that Canada had abolished slavery and would harbor fugitives, many slaves began to make their way north of the border.

The Southernmost state that had an active Underground Railroad was North Carolina. Slaves in the deeper south often headed for Florida where they could be taken in by the Seminoles and other Native American tribes. Many slaves decided to escape to Great Britain for their reputation for having an antislavery sentiment. There were no restrictions on public transportation or segregated restaurants, schools, and churches. For decades, many British abolitionists were sending money and supplies to conductors working the Underground Railroad to support the cause.

If the Journey could be made to Britain, the resulting lifestyle would be worth it. Many fugitive slaves migrated to Britain to pursue a career or education. Samuel Ward, a fugitive slave and active abolitionist, studied classics and theology before becoming an ordained minister. A famous woman who was accountable for many aspects of the Underground Railroad was Harriet Tubman. Tubman was born a slave in Maryland in 1820 and escaped from her master in 1849. The next year, she returned to Baltimore to rescue her family, her brother, and two other slaves.

She would always return to the South to assist the escape of many others who could not help themselves. Tubman managed to free her elderly parents from slavery by building a makeshift carriage that she strapped to her horse. Harriet Tubman traveled to the South nineteen times to lead more than three hundred fugitives out of slavery. Slaveholders and plantation owners throughout the Southern United States feared Tubman’s bravery and would offer various rewards for her capture. Another individual that contributed his services to he Underground Railroad was Levi Coffin.

Coffin was a Quaker man from North Carolina that earned the title of President of the Underground Railroad. Although he was not formally elected, Coffin became known as president while running the most active station in the Underground Railroad for thirty-three years. In Coffin’s station, ne would collect money tor tares to Canada, teed hungry slaves, and locate new stations for the runaways. Coffin had a doctor on site for slave’s medical needs and his wife always had food available. More than 3,000 slaves came through Coffin’s door during the Underground Railroad.

The Underground Railroad saved thousands of fugitive lives throughout several centuries of American History. Established to create a system of escape, the influence of the Underground Railroad generated many abolitionists, activists, and orators to spread antislavery ideals throughout the country. The creation of the Fugitive Slave Laws and the imbalance of slave states versus free states fueled the tensions between the North and South. The issue of slavery seemed to be provoking ideas of secession as the South became threatened by the Abolitionist Movement spreading throughout the country.

Not only were any fugitive lives saved during the Underground Railroad, but giving slaves the chance to escape generated many inspiration people of the 1800s. Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and other escaped slaves used their abilities to persuade others to accept antislavery morals. Telling stories of their own tragedies and revealing hidden truths became a motivation for many abolitionists throughout the century. The Underground Railroad will remain a significant event in United States history as it highlights the bravery that was illustrated during the fght against slavery.

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