How Did The Underground Railroad Impact The Fugitive Slave Law? (Solved)

For the slaves traveling north on the Underground Railroad, they were still in danger once they entered northern states. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 allowed and encouraged the capture of fugitive slaves due to the fact that they were seen as stolen property, rather than abused human beings.

What were some of the effects of the Underground Railroad?

  • Some of the effects of the Underground Railroad included slaves making it to freedom, the strengthening of the 1793 Fugitive Slave Law and leaders in the north gaining a better understanding of slave conditions. While around 1,000 slaves per year were able to escape successfully, many did not.

What impact did the US Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 have on the Underground Railroad?

The severity of the 1850 measure led to abuses and defeated its purpose. The number of abolitionists increased, the operations of the Underground Railroad became more efficient, and new personal-liberty laws were enacted in many Northern states.

What effect would the Fugitive Slave Law have on Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad?

The 1850 Fugitive Slave Act allowed fugitive and freed workers in the north to be captured and enslaved. This made Harriet’s job as an Underground Railroad conductor much harder and forced her to lead enslaved people further north to Canada, traveling at night, usually in the spring or fall when the days were shorter.

How did the US fugitive Act impact runaway slaves?

Passed on September 18, 1850 by Congress, The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was part of the Compromise of 1850. The act required that slaves be returned to their owners, even if they were in a free state. The act also made the federal government responsible for finding, returning, and trying escaped slaves.

Why is the Underground Railroad significant?

The underground railroad, where it existed, offered local service to runaway slaves, assisting them from one point to another. The primary importance of the underground railroad was that it gave ample evidence of African American capabilities and gave expression to African American philosophy.

How did the Underground Railroad affect Canada?

The Underground Railroad was a secret network of abolitionists (people who wanted to abolish slavery). They helped African Americans escape from enslavement in the American South to free Northern states or to Canada. It brought between 30,000 and 40,000 fugitives to British North America (now Canada).

How did Harriet Tubman help with the Underground Railroad?

Harriet Tubman is perhaps the most well-known of all the Underground Railroad’s “conductors.” During a ten-year span she made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom. And, as she once proudly pointed out to Frederick Douglass, in all of her journeys she “never lost a single passenger.”

What happened after the Underground Railroad?

After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act as part of the Compromise of 1850 the Underground Railroad was rerouted to Canada as its final destination. Thousands of slaves settled in newly formed communities in Southern Ontario. Suddenly their job became more difficult and riskier.

Was the Underground Railroad a success?

Ironically the Fugitive Slave Act increased Northern opposition to slavery and helped hasten the Civil War. The Underground Railroad gave freedom to thousands of enslaved women and men and hope to tens of thousands more. In both cases the success of the Underground Railroad hastened the destruction of slavery.

How did the Underground Railroad help enslaved African Americans?

How did the Underground Railroad help enslaved African Americans? It provided a network of escape routes toward the North. In his pamphlet Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World, on what did David Walker base his arguments against slavery? They feared that the abolition of slavery would destroy their economy.

Why was the Underground Railroad important to the Civil War?

The Underground Railroad physically resisted the repressive laws that held slaves in bondage. By provoking fear and anger in the South, and prompting the enactment of harsh legislation that eroded the rights of white Americans, the Underground Railroad was a direct contributing cause of the Civil War.

Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad was a network of people, both black and white, who helped escaped enslaved persons from the southern United States by providing them with refuge and assistance. It came forth as a result of the convergence of numerous separate covert initiatives. Although the exact dates of its inception are unknown, it was active from the late 18th century until the Civil War, after which its attempts to weaken the Confederacy were carried out in a less-secretive manner until the Civil War ended.

Quaker Abolitionists

The Society of Friends (Quakers) is often regarded as the first organized group to actively assist escaped enslaved persons. In 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with Quakers for attempting to “liberate” one of his enslaved servants. Abolitionist and Quaker Isaac T. Hopper established a network in Philadelphia in the early 1800s to assist enslaved persons who were on the run from slavery. Abolitionist organisations founded by Quakers in North Carolina lay the basis for escape routes and safe havens for fugitive slaves during the same time period.

What Was the Underground Railroad?

The Underground Railroad was first mentioned in 1831, when an enslaved man named Tice Davids managed to escape from Kentucky into Ohio and his master blamed a “underground railroad” for assisting Davids in his liberation. When a fugitive slave called Jim was apprehended in 1839 in Washington, the press said that the guy confessed his plan to travel north along a “underground railroad to Boston” while under torture. The Vigilance Committees, which were established in New York in 1835 and Philadelphia in 1838 to safeguard escaped enslaved persons from bounty hunters, rapidly expanded their duties to include guiding enslaved individuals on the run.

MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman and her fellow fugitives used the following strategies to escape through the Underground Railroad:

How the Underground Railroad Worked

The majority of enslaved persons aided by the Underground Railroad were able to flee to neighboring states like as Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made catching fugitive enslaved persons a lucrative industry in the deep South, and there were fewer hiding places for them as a result of the Act. The majority of fugitive enslaved people were on their own until they reached specific places farther north. The escaping enslaved people were escorted by individuals known as “conductors.” Private residences, churches, and schools were also used as hiding places throughout the war.

The personnel in charge of running them were referred to as “stationmasters.” There were several well-traveled roads that ran west through Ohio and into Indiana and Iowa.

While some traveled north via Pennsylvania and into New England, or through Detroit on their route to Canada, others chose to travel south. The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico.

Fugitive Slave Acts

The Fugitive Slave Acts were a major cause for many fugitive slaves to flee to Canada. This legislation, which was passed in 1793, authorized local governments to catch and extradite fugitive enslaved individuals from inside the borders of free states back to their places of origin, as well as to penalize anybody who assisted the fleeing enslaved people. Personal Liberty Laws were introduced in certain northern states to fight this, but they were overturned by the Supreme Court in 1842. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was intended to reinforce the preceding legislation, which was perceived by southern states to be insufficiently enforced at the time of passage.

The northern states were still considered a danger zone for fugitives who had managed to flee.

Some Underground Railroad operators chose to station themselves in Canada and sought to assist fugitives who were arriving to settle in the country.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad during its heyday. When she and two of her brothers fled from a farm in Maryland in 1849, she was given the name Harriet (her married name was Tubman). She was born Araminta Ross, and she was raised as Harriet Tubman. They returned a couple of weeks later, but Tubman fled on her own again shortly after, this time making her way to the state of Pennsylvania. In following years, Tubman returned to the plantation on a number of occasions to rescue family members and other individuals.

Tubman was distraught until she had a vision of God, which led her to join the Underground Railroad and begin escorting other fugitive slaves to the Maryland state capital.

Frederick Douglass

In his house in Rochester, New York, former enslaved person and celebrated author Frederick Douglasshid fugitives who were assisting 400 escapees in their journey to freedom in Canada. Reverend Jermain Loguen, a former fugitive who lived in the adjacent city of Syracuse, assisted 1,500 escapees on their journey north. The Vigilance Committee was established in Philadelphia in 1838 by Robert Purvis, an escaped enslaved person who later became a trader. Josiah Henson, a former enslaved person and railroad operator, founded the Dawn Institute in Ontario in 1842 to assist fugitive slaves who made their way to Canada in learning the necessary skills to find work.

Agent,” according to the document.

John Parker was a free Black man living in Ohio who worked as a foundry owner and who used his rowboat to ferry fugitives over the Ohio River.

William Still was a notable Philadelphia citizen who was born in New Jersey to runaway slaves parents who fled to Philadelphia as children.

Who Ran the Underground Railroad?

The vast majority of Underground Railroad operators were regular individuals, including farmers and business owners, as well as preachers and religious leaders. Some affluent individuals were active, including Gerrit Smith, a billionaire who stood for president on two separate occasions. Smith acquired a full family of enslaved people from Kentucky in 1841 and freed them from their captivity. Levi Coffin, a Quaker from North Carolina, is credited with being one of the first recorded individuals to assist escaped enslaved persons.

Coffin stated that he had discovered their hiding spots and had sought them out in order to assist them in moving forward.

Coffin eventually relocated to Indiana and then Ohio, where he continued to assist fugitive enslaved individuals no matter where he was.

John Brown

Abolitionist John Brown worked as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and it was at this time that he founded the League of Gileadites, which was dedicated to assisting fleeing enslaved individuals in their journey to Canada. Abolitionist John Brown would go on to play a variety of roles during his life. His most well-known duty was conducting an assault on Harper’s Ferry in order to raise an armed army that would march into the deep south and free enslaved people at gunpoint. Ultimately, Brown’s forces were beaten, and he was executed for treason in 1859.

  • The year 1844, he formed a partnership with Vermont schoolteacher Delia Webster, and the two were jailed for assisting an escaped enslaved lady and her young daughter.
  • Charles Torrey was sentenced to six years in jail in Maryland for assisting an enslaved family in their attempt to flee through Virginia.
  • After being apprehended in 1844 while transporting a boatload of freed slaves from the Caribbean to the United States, Massachusetts sea captain Jonathan Walker was sentenced to prison for life.
  • John Fairfield of Virginia turned down the opportunity to assist in the rescue of enslaved individuals who had been left behind by their families as they made their way north.
  • He managed to elude capture twice.

End of the Line

Operation of the Underground Railroad came to an end in 1863, during the American Civil War. In actuality, its work was shifted aboveground as part of the Union’s overall campaign against the Confederate States of America. Once again, Harriet Tubman made a crucial contribution by organizing intelligence operations and serving as a commanding officer in Union Army efforts to rescue the liberated enslaved people who had been freed.

MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman led a daring Civil War raid after the Underground Railroad was shut down.

Sources

Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad is a book about the Underground Railroad. Fergus Bordewich is a Scottish actor. A Biography of Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom Catherine Clinton is the first lady of the United States. Who Exactly Was in Charge of the Underground Railroad? ‘Henry Louis Gates’ is a pseudonym for Henry Louis Gates. The Underground Railroad’s History in New York is a little known fact. The Smithsonian Institution’s magazine. The Underground Railroad’s Dangerous Allure is well documented.

See also:  How Many Slaves Found Their Way To Freedom By Using The Underground Railroad? (Professionals recommend)

Fugitive Slave Acts

Historically, the Fugitive Slave Acts were two pieces of legislation established by Congress in 1793 and 1850 (and repealed in 1864) that allowed for the capture and return of fugitive slaves who escaped from one state into another or into a federally administered region. The 1793 legislation carried out Article IV, Section 2 of the United States Constitution by permitting any federal district judge or circuit court judge, as well as any state magistrate, to determine the legal status of an accused fugitive slave without the need for a trial by jury.

  1. These laws established that fugitives who challenged an initial ruling against them were entitled to a jury trial.
  2. The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a system of transportation that allows people to flee their homes.
  3. Weber (c.1893).
  4. (neg.
  5. LC-USZ62-28860) Quiz on the Encyclopedia Britannica This quiz will examine the history of slavery and resistance.
  6. Who was the leader of the mutiny of 53 enslaved individuals on the Spanish slave ship Amistad that occurred in 1839?
  7. Take the quiz to find out.

Under this rule, fugitives were not permitted to testify in their own defense, nor were they given the opportunity to stand trial before a jury.

In addition, under the 1850 statute, special commissioners were to have concurrent jurisdiction with the United States courts in the enforcement of the law.

There was a rise in the number of abolitionists, the Underground Railroad activities grew more efficient, and new personal-liberty legislation were established in several Northern states during this period.

The attempts to put the legislation of 1850 into action sparked a great deal of animosity and were very certainly responsible for stoking sectional antagonism as much as the debate over slavery in the territory.

The Library of Congress’s Printed Ephemera Collection is located in Washington, D.C.

Portfolio 22, Folder 12b) A period of time during the American Civil War was regarded to be a period of time during which the Fugitive Slave Acts were still in effect in the instance of Blacks fleeing from masters in border states that were loyal to the Union authority.

It wasn’t until June 28, 1864, that the acts were finally overturned by the legislature. Those in charge of editing the Encyclopaedia Britannica Adam Augustyn was the author of the most recent revision and update to this article.

1850 Fugitive Slave Act · The Underground Railroad · The Underground Railroad in the Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana Borderland

Slave catchers should be on the lookout for African Americans residing in Boston. After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, the number of slave escapes skyrocketed. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which was intended to prevent slave escapes, had the opposite effect. After 1850, the number of people who escaped from Kentucky climbed by 53 percent. The Fugitive Law, according to one Underground Railroad agent, “has boosted the stock on some of our Western routes, by at least 50 to 75 percent,” according to a statement made in 1855.

  • According to news sources, the flight of slaves resembled a stampede.
  • Similar legislation passed in 1793 gave slaveholders the ability to retrieve slaves while also requiring states to aid them in their efforts.
  • According to the court’s decision, state officials were banned from intervening with fugitive slaves.
  • The 1793 Fugitive Slave Law was declared illegal by the Supreme Court, and only federal officers were authorized to execute it.
  • According to the 1850 Runaway Slave Act, federal officials were authorized to abduct any African American suspected of being a fugitive.
  • Anyone of African descent might be accused of being a slave by agents.
  • The word of a slaveholder was regarded adequate evidence that the individual in issue was the runaway in question.

The legal consequences for anyone who help fugitives or impede the law in any way were more severe, with a $1000 fine per fugitive and six months in jail being the most severe penalties.

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 not only increased the number of escapes in the South, but it also caused many fugitives residing in the Ohio Valley Borderland to travel even further north.

As hundreds of formerly enslaved people dreaded being recaptured, black populations in Indiana and Ohio declined.

According to theLouisville Courier, “.the Fugitive Slave Law cannot be implemented in Ohio and is unlikely to be enacted in the future.” After 1850, slave catchers appointed by the federal government patrolled the Ohio River on a regular basis in search of fugitives.

Agents utilized harsh tactics to abduct and imprison every African-American they came into touch with while acting under federal authority.

Three agents from Washington County, Ohio, were abducted and carried to Virginia, where they were imprisoned for assisting fugitives in 1845.

A word of caution to runaway slaves.

118.

Hudson, Fugitive Slaves, Fugitive Slaves, See p. 83 for information on slaveholder gatherings. According to the Louisville Couriernews, page 5064. The Frontline, pages 107-108. Griffler, Frontline. Hudson’s Fugitive Slaves, Volume 85. Griffler,Frontline,82-83.

The Underground Railroad – Lincoln Home National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service)

When we talk about the Underground Railroad, we’re talking about the attempts of enslaved African Americans to earn their freedom by escaping bondage, which took place from the beginning of the Civil War to the end of the war. In every country where slavery existed, there was a concerted attempt to flee, first to maroon communities in remote locations far from settlements, then across state and international borders. Runaways were considered “fugitives” under the rules of the period because of their acts of self-emancipation, albeit in retrospect, the term “freedom seeker” appears to be a more fair description.

It’s possible that the choice to aid a freedom seeking was taken on the spur of the moment.

Freedom seekers traveled in a variety of directions, including Canada, Mexico, the United States West, the Caribbean islands, and Europe.

The Fugitive Slave Acts

Until the end of the Civil War, enslavement in the United States was considered lawful and acceptable. In contrast to the rhetoric of the Revolutionary War era about freedom, the new United States constitution safeguarded the rights of individuals to possess and enslave other people, including women. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 further reinforced these slaveholding rights, allowing for the return to captivity of any African American who was accused or simply suspected of being a freedom seeker under certain circumstances.

It was a $500 punishment for anybody who supported a liberator or just interfered with an arrest, a clear recognition of the significance and lasting influence on American society of the Underground Railroad phenomenon decades before it was given its official name.

Individuals in the North were brought face to face with the immoral issue by the spectacle of African Americans being reenslaved at the least provocation and the selling of abducted free African Americans to the South for slavery.

Those who aided freedom seekers in their attempts to flee were considered members of the Underground Railroad. “Buy us too,” says H.L. Stephens in his parting words. The Library of Congress is a federal government institution that collects and organizes information.

Motivation of Freedom Seekers

Time period, geographic location, kind of agriculture or industry, size of the slaveholding unit, urban vs rural environment, and even the temperament and financial stability of the enslaver all influenced the degree to which people were enslaved. All of these experiences have one thing in common: the dehumanization of both the victim and the oppressor as a result of the demands of a system that treats human beings as property rather than as individuals. This element, probably more than any other, helps to explain why some people opted to escape and why their owners were frequently taken aback by their actions.

Many people were able to flee because they had access to knowledge and abilities, including reading, which gave them an advantage.

The slaves rebelled despite the fact that the slavery system was intended to train them to accept it.

Geography of the Underground Railroad

Wherever there were enslaved African Americans, there were those who were desperate to get away. Slavery existed in all of the original thirteen colonies, as well as in Spanish California, Louisiana, and Florida, as well as in all of the Caribbean islands, until the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and the British abolition of slavery brought an end to slavery in the United States (1834). The Underground Railroad had its beginnings at the site of enslavement in the United States. The routes followed natural and man-made forms of movement, including rivers, canals, bays, the Atlantic Coast, ferries and river crossings, as well as roads and trails and other infrastructure.

Freedom seekers used their inventiveness to devise disguises, forgeries, and other techniques, drawing on their courage and brains in the process.

Commemoration of Underground Railroad History

Commemoration may only take place if local Underground Railroad figures and events have been discovered and documented. Primary materials, such as letters from the time period, court testimony, or newspaper articles, are used to verify the historical record. Education and preservation of the public are the following steps, which will be accomplished through the preservation of major locations, the use of authentic history in heritage tourism and educational programs, museum and touring exhibits, and commemorative sculpture.

Whenever a site has been paved over, changed, or reconstructed, a pamphlet, walking tour, school curriculum, road marker, or plaque might be used to educate the public about the significance of the location.

A local festival might be organized to bring the history of the area to the attention of the general public.

Uncovering Underground Railroad History

Despite years of assertions that the Underground Railroad’s history was shrouded in secrecy, local historians, genealogists, oral historians, and other researchers have discovered that primary sources describing the flight to freedom of many enslaved African Americans have survived to the present day. It is becoming clearer that the slaves were determined to pursue their own and their families’ freedom, as evidenced by court documents, memoirs of conductors and freedom seekers, letters, runaway advertisements in newspapers, and military records.

A lot of the time, no one has been able to piece together the parts of freedom seekers’ narrative by looking at their starting and ending locations, let alone the moments in between.

Anthony Burns is a writer who lives in New York City.

Unknown Underground Railroad Heroes

Abolitionist Harriet Tubman, known as the “Moses of her people,” and Frederick Douglass, a freedom seeker who rose to become the greatest African American leader of his time, are two of the most well-known figures linked with the Underground Railroad. Both were from the state of Maryland. Those seeking freedom, on the other hand, came from every part of the world where slavery was legalized, even the northern colonies. Harriet Jacobs arrived from North Carolina, where she had spent the previous seven years hidden in her grandmother’s attic.

  • Louis and journeyed 700 miles until she reached Canada, where she sought sanctuary.
  • Lewis Hayden, his wife, and their kid were able to flee from slavery in Kentucky to freedom in Ohio thanks to the assistance of Delia Webster and Calvin Fairbanks.
  • Mary Ellen Pleasant, a black businesswoman from San Francisco, took in a fugitive named Archy Lee and hosted him in her house, setting the stage for an important state court case.
  • Coffin and Rankin are two white clergymen from the Midwest who aided freedom seekers in their efforts to gain their independence.
  • Residents of Wellington and Oberlin, Ohio, both black and white, stood up to slave hunters and refused to allow them to return John Price to his servitude in the state of Kentucky.
  • Charles Torrey, Leonard Grimes, and Jacob Bigelow were among the members of a multiracial network in Washington, D.C., who worked for years to assist individuals like as Ann Marie Weems, the Edmondson sisters, and Garland White in their quest for freedom.

William and Ellen Craft managed to flee over one thousand miles from Georgia to Boston by putting on a convincing disguise.

National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom

In addition to coordinating preservation and education efforts across the country, the National Park Service Underground Railroad program integrates local historical sites, museums, and interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad into a mosaic of community, regional, and national stories. The Network also seeks to foster contact and collaboration between scholars and other interested parties, as well as to help in the formation of statewide organizations dedicated to the preservation and investigation of Underground Railroad locations.

See also:  When Dose The Underground Railroad Take Place? (Suits you)

The Underground Railroad (1820-1861) •

The smuggling of fugitives during the winter season Charles T. Webber’s novel The Underground Railroad was published in 1893. Images that are in the public domain Underground Railroad was established to assist enslaved people in their journey from slavery to liberty. The railroad network was made up of dozens of hidden routes and safe houses that began in slaveholding states and extended all the way to the Canadian border, which was the only place where fugitives could be certain of their freedom.

  • As part of the Underground Railroad, slaves were smuggled onto ships that transported them to ports in the northern United States or to countries outside of the United States.
  • Though the number of persons who fled through the Underground Railroad between 1820 and 1861 varies greatly depending on who you ask, the most commonly accepted figure is roughly 100,000.
  • The railroad employed conductors, among them William Still of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who was likely the most well-known of the group.
  • Slave-hiding spots were called stations, and stationmasters were individuals who hid slaves in their houses.
  • The Underground Railroad functioned as a number of interconnected networks.
  • Those responsible for leading the fugitive slaves north did so in stages.
  • The “freight” would be transferred on to the next conductor once it reached another stop, and so on until the full journey had been completed.

When the Underground Railroad was successful, it engendered a great deal of hostility among slaveholders and their friends.

The law was misused to a tremendous extent.

Due to the fact that African Americans were not permitted to testify or have a jury present during a trial, they were frequently unable to defend themselves.

However, the Fugitive Slave Act had the opposite effect, increasing Northern opposition to slavery and hastening the Civil War.

A large number of those who escaped became human witnesses to the slave system, with many of them traveling on the lecture circuit to explain to Northerners what life was like as a slave in the slave system.

It was the success of the Underground Railroad in both situations that contributed to the abolition of slavery.

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Cite this article in APA format:

Waggoner, C., and Waggoner, C. (2007, December 03). The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a system of transportation that allows people to flee their homes (1820-1861). BlackPast.org.

Source of the author’s information:

“The Underground Railroad,” by William Still (Chicago, Johnson Publishing Company, 1970) Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books in association with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 2004); J. Blaine Hudson, Encyclopedia of the Underground Railroad (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2006); David W. Blight, Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books in association with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center,

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Smuggled fugitives through the Underground Railroad during the winter seasonThe Underground Railroad was established to aid enslaved people in their escape to freedom. The railroad network was made up of dozens of hidden routes and safe houses that began in slaveholding states and extended all the way to the Canadian border, which was the only place where fugitives could be certain of their freedom. From Florida to Cuba, or from Texas to Mexico, there were shorter routes that took you south. As part of the Underground Railroad, slaves were smuggled onto ships that transported them to ports in the northern United States or to countries outside of the United States.

  • Though the number of persons who fled through the Underground Railroad between 1820 and 1861 varies greatly depending on who you ask, the most commonly accepted figure is roughly 100,000.
  • The Underground Railroad got its moniker from the slang terms that were used along the lines.
  • Agents, stations, stationmasters, passengers or freight, and even investors were all included in this category.
  • The term “cargo” referred to escaped slaves, while stockholders were those who provided money to keep the Underground Railroad operating.
  • While the journey north was a long and difficult one, the Underground Railroad supplied depots and safe homes at strategic points along the way.
  • It is impossible for a conductor to know the full route; he or she is only accountable for the short routes between stations.
  • Both the escaped slaves and the integrity of the routes, which sometimes stretched for more than 1,000 miles, were preserved by this restricted information.

Because previous efforts to disrupt the slave escape system had failed, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which allowed slave owners or their agents to request assistance from federal, state, and local law enforcement officials in non-slaveholding states in order to apprehend fugitive slaves and bring them to justice.

  1. Slave-catchers began abducting free-born African Americans in the early 1800s.
  2. It is sufficient for the slave-catcher to make an oath that the black guy was, in fact, a runaway slave, after which they might return the slave to its said owner in exchange for a payment.
  3. Thousands of enslaved women and men were released and tens of thousands more were given hope as a result of the Underground Railroad.
  4. Others joined and supported the Underground Railroad as members and sympathizers.

William Still’s book, The Underground Railroad, is a good starting point (Chicago, Johnson Publishing Company, 1970) Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books in association with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 2004); J.

Blight, Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books in association with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, With permission from BlackPast.org, this article has been republished.

Instructions for Citing This Article (in APA Format): Waggoner, C., and Waggoner, C. (n.d.). The Underground Railroad was in operation from 1820 to 1861). Project on the History of Social Welfare. It was retrieved from

Underground Railroad

Smuggled fugitives through the Underground Railroad during the winter seasonThe Underground Railroad was constructed to assist enslaved persons in their escape to freedom from slavery. As a result, the railroad network consisted of hundreds of hidden routes and safe homes that began in slaveholding states and extended all the way to the Canadian border, which was the only place where fugitives could be certain of their freedom. From Florida to Cuba, or from Texas to Mexico, there were shorter routes that sent travelers south.

  • The Underground Railroad’s success was dependent on the collaboration of past runaway slaves, free-born blacks, Native Americans, and white and black abolitionists who assisted in guiding fugitive slaves along the routes and providing safe havens in their own houses.
  • In the nineteenth century, there was an underground railroad.
  • From the jargon that was employed along the lines, the Underground Railroad received its moniker.
  • Agents, stations, stationmasters, passengers or freight, and even investors were all included in this category.
  • As a series of interconnected networks, the Underground Railroad functioned efficiently.
  • It was a gradual process on the part of those who led the fugitive slaves northward.
  • It would be transferred on to the next conductor after the “freight” had reached another stop until the full trip had been completed.

A great deal of hostility was built among slaveholders and their sympathizers as a result of the success of the Underground Railroad.

The Act allowed slave owners or their agents to request assistance from federal, state, and local law enforcement officials in non-slaveholding states in the capture of fugitive slaves.

African Americans who were not born into slavery were abducted by slave catchers.

It is sufficient for the slave-catcher to make an oath that the black guy is, in fact, a runaway slave, after which they may return the slave to its alleged owner in exchange for a reward.

Thousands of enslaved women and men were released and tens of thousands more were given hope as a result of the underground railroad.

The Underground Railroad attracted many more people, who became members and supporters.

Willie Still’s book, The Underground Railroad, is a good place to start looking (Chicago, Johnson Publishing Company, 1970) Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books in association with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 2004); J.

Blight, Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books in association with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center), BlackPast.org has granted permission to republish their material.

Example of APA Citation for this Article: Charles Waggoner, C. Waggoner & Associates, Inc. (n.d.). From 1820 to 1861, the Underground Railroad transported people from one place to another. An historical study of social welfare. Obtainable via the website

Underground Railroad “Stations” Develop in Iowa

Iowa shares a southern border with Missouri, which was a slave state during the American Civil War. The abolitionist movement (those who desired to abolish slavery) built a system of “stations” in the 1840s and 1850s that could transport runaways from the Mississippi River to Illinois on their route to freedom. Activists from two religious movements, the Congregationalists and the Quakers, played crucial roles in the abolitionist movement. They were also involved in the Underground Railroad’s operations in the state of New York.

  • According to one source, there are more than 100 Iowans who are participating in the endeavor.
  • The Hitchcock House, located in Cass County near Lewis, is another well-known destination on the Underground Railroad in one form or another.
  • George Hitchcock escorted “passengers” to the next destination on his route.
  • Several of these locations are now public museums that are available to the general public.
  • Individual families also reacted when they were approached for assistance.
  • When the Civil War broke out and the Fugitive Slave Law could no longer be enforced in the northern states, a large number of slaves fled into the state and eventually settled there permanently.
  • It was determined that segregated schools and discrimination in public accommodations were both unconstitutional in Iowa by the Supreme Court.

Iowa: A Free State Willing to Let Slavery Exist

Slavery has been a contentious topic in the United States since its inception, and it continues to be so today. As new states entered the Union, the early fights did not revolve over slavery in the South but rather its expansion. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 created an east-west line along the southern boundary of Missouri, which would remain in place for the rest of time, separating free and slave settlement. States to the south may legalize slavery, whilst states to the north (with the exception of slave state Missouri) were prohibited from doing so.

The majority of Iowans were ready to allow slavery to continue in the South.

They enacted legislation in an attempt to deter black people from settling in the state.

Iowa did have a tiny community of abolitionists who believed that slavery was a moral wrong that should be abolished everywhere.

This increased the likelihood that Nebraska, which borders Iowa on its western border, would become a slave state. The majority of Iowans were opposed to the idea. The Republican Party has evolved as a staunch opponent of any future expansion of slavery into western areas in the United States.

Supporting Questions

  • $200 Reward: Poster for the Return of Formerly-Enslaved People, October 1, 1847 (Document)
  • “Effects of the Fugitive-Slave-Law” Print, 1850 (Image)
  • Fugitive Slave Law, 1850 (Document)
  • Poster for the Return of Formerly-Enslaved People, October 1, 1847 (Document)
  • Poster for the Return of Formerly-Enslaved People, October 1, 1847 (Do
See also:  Where Did The Underground Railroad Take Place? (Correct answer)

How did runaway slaves rely on the help of abolitionists to escape to freedom?

  • Article from the Anti-Slavery Bugle titled “William and Ellen Craft,” published on February 23, 1849 (Document)
  • Anti-Slavery Bugle Article titled “Underground Railroad,” published on September 16, 1854 (Document)
  • “A Presbyterian Clergyman Suspended for Being Connected with the Underground Railroad” Article published on November 8, 1855 (Document)
  • William Maxson Home in West Liberty, Iowa, circa 1890 (Image)
  • “Fugitive

How did some runaway slaves create their own opportunities to escape?

  • A newspaper article entitled “The ‘Running of Slaves’ – The Extraordinary Escape of Henry Box Brown” published on June 23, 1849 (Document)
  • The Henry “Box” Brown Song and the Engraved Box, published in 1850 (Image, Document)
  • “The Resurrection of Henry ‘Box’ Brown at Philadelphia” illustration published in 1850 (Image)
  • Robert Smalls: “The Steamer ‘Planter’ and Her Captor,” published on June 14, 1862 (Do

$200 Reward: Poster for the Return of Formerly-Enslaved People, October 1, 1847

  • After escaping enslavement, many people depended on northern whites to guide them securely to the northern free states and eventually to Canadian territory. For someone who had previously been forced into slavery, life may be quite perilous. There were incentives for capturing them, as well as adverts such as the one seen below for a prize. More information may be found here.

“Effects of the Fugitive-Slave-Law” Illustration, 1850

  • Written in strong opposition to the Runaway Slave Act, which was approved by Congress in September 1850 and expanded federal and free-state duty for the return of fugitive slaves, this letter is full of anger. The bill called for the appointment of federal commissioners who would have the authority to enact regulations. More information may be found here.

Fugitive Slave Law, 1850

  • As a result of the Fleeing Slave Law of 1850, it became unlawful for anybody in the northern United States to aid fugitive slaves in their quest for freedom. This statute supplemented the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act with additional clauses addressing runaways, and it imposed even harsher sanctions for interfering with their escape. More information may be found here.

Anti-Slavery Bugle Article – “William and Ellen Craft,” February 23, 1849

  • In this article from the abolitionist journal, The Anti-Slavery Bugle, the narrative of Ellen and William Craft’s emancipation from slavery is described in detail. Ellen disguised herself as a male in order to pass as the master, while her husband, William, claimed to be her servant as they made their way out of the building. More information may be found here.

Anti-Slavery Bugle Article – “Underground Railroad,” September 16, 1854

  • The Anti-Slavery Bugle article indicates the number of runaway slaves in northern cities in 1854, based on a survey conducted by the organization. This group contained nine slaves from Boone County, Kentucky, who were seeking refuge in the United States. Their captors were said to be on the lookout for them in Cincinnati, and they were found. More information may be found here.

“A Presbyterian Clergyman Suspended for Being Connected with the Underground Railroad” Article, November 8, 1855

  • This newspaper story was written in Fayettville, Tennessee, in 1855 and is a good example of historical journalism. When Rev. T. B. McCormick, a priest in Indiana, was suspended for his membership in the Underground Railroad, the article details his ordeal in detail. In the narrative, he is accused of supporting escaped slaves on their way to freedom. More information may be found here.

William Maxson Home in West Liberty, Iowa, 1890

  • It was published in the Fayetteville, Tennessee, newspaper in 1855, and is a good example of historical journalism. When Rev. T. B. McCormick, a clergyman in Indiana, was suspended for his membership in the Underground Railroad, the article tells what happened. In the narrative, he is accused of supporting fugitive slaves on their way out of the country. More information may be found at:

“Fugitive Slave Case Was Tried” – A Daily Gate City Article, April 13, 1915

  • This story, which was published in the Keokuk, Iowa, newspaper The Daily Gate City in 1915, is about a trial that took place in Burlington in 1850. Buel Daggs, the plaintiff, sought $10,000 in damages as recompense for the services of nine slaves who had fled from Missouri and had worked for him as slaves. More information may be found here.

“The ‘Running of Slaves’ – The Extraordinary Escape of Henry ‘Box’ Brown” Article, June 23, 1849

  • It was published in the Keokuk, Iowa newspaper The Daily Gate City in 1915 and is about a trial that took place in Burlington, Iowa, in 1850 and was published in The Daily Gate City. Buel Daggs, the plaintiff, sought $10,000 in damages as recompense for the services of nine slaves who had escaped from Missouri and had been working for him. More information may be found at:

Henry “Box” Brown Song and the Engraved Box, 1850

  • Image of the engraving on the box that Henry “Box” Brown built and used to send himself to freedom in Virginia. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. There is a label on the box that says “Right side up with care.” During his first appearance out of the box in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the attached song, Henry “Box” Brown sang a song that is included here. More information may be found here.

“The Resurrection of Henry ‘Box’ Brown at Philadelphia” Illustration, 1850

  • Henry “Box” Brown, a slave who escaped from Richmond, Virginia, in a box measuring three feet long, two and a half feet deep, and two and a half feet broad, is depicted in a somewhat comical but sympathetic manner in this artwork. In the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society’s administrative offices. More information may be found here.

Robert Smalls: “The Steamer ‘Planter’ and Her Captor,” June 14, 1862

  • The escape of Robert Smalls and other members of his family and friends from slavery was chronicled in detail in an article published in Harper’s Weekly. Smalls was an enslaved African American who acquired freedom during and after the American Civil War and went on to work as a ship’s pilot on the high seas. More information may be found here.

“A Bold Stroke for Freedom” Illustration, 1872

  • The image from 1872 depicts African Americans, most likely fleeing slaves, standing in front of a wagon and brandishing firearms towards slave-catchers. A group of young enslaved persons who had escaped from Loudon by wagon are said to be shown in the cartoon on Christmas Eve in 1855, when patrollers caught up with them. More information may be found here.

Additional Resources:

  • Harriet Tubman Day is observed annually on March 31. The statement issued by the State of Delaware on the observance of Harriet Ross Tubman Day on March 10, 2017 may be seen on the website. Governor John Carney and Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long both signed the statement. Harriet Tubman – A Guide to Online Resources A wide range of material linked with Harriet Tubman may be found in these digital collections from the Library of Congress, which include manuscripts, pictures, and publications. It is the goal of this guide to consolidate connections to digital materials about Harriet Tubman that are available throughout the Library of Congress website. Scenes from Harriet Tubman’s Life and Times The website, which is accessible through the Digital Public Library of America, contains portions from the novel Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman, written by Sarah Bradford in 1869 and published by the American Library Association.
  • This day honors Harriet Tubman. Harriet Ross Tubman Day will be observed on March 10, 2017, according to a statement released by the State of Delaware on the occasion. Governor John Carney and Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long both signed the statement. A Guide to Resources on Harriet Tubman’s Life and Times Collections from the Library of Congress’s digital collections contain a diverse range of materials linked with Harriet Tubman, including manuscripts as well as images and publications. It is the goal of this guide to assemble links to digital materials on Harriet Tubman that are available on the Library of Congress website. Life of Harriet Tubman as shown in the film The website, which is accessible through the Digital Public Library of America, contains portions from Sarah Bradford’s novel, Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman, published in 1869.

Iowa Core Social Studies Standards (8th Grade)

The content anchor requirements for Iowa Core Social Studies that are most accurately reflected in this source collection are listed below. The subject requirements that have been implemented to this set are appropriate for middle school pupils and cover the major areas that make up social studies for eighth grade students in the United States.

  • S.8.13.Explain the rights and obligations of people, political parties, and the media in the context of a range of governmental and nonprofit organizations and institutions. (Skills for the twenty-first century)
  • SS.8.19.Explain how immigration and migration were influenced by push and pull influences in early American history. SS.8.21.Examine the relationships and linkages between early American historical events and developments in the context of wider historical settings
  • In your explanation of how and why prevalent social, cultural, and political viewpoints altered over early American history, please include the following information: SS.8.23.Explain the numerous causes, impacts, and changes that occurred in early American history
  • And The Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, Washington’s Farewell Address, the Louisiana Purchase Treaty with France, the Monroe Doctrine, the Indian Removal Act, the Missouri Compromise, Dred Scott v. Sanford, and the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo are examples of primary and secondary sources of information that should be critiqued with consideration for the source of the document, its context, accuracy, and usefulness.

The Underground Railroad

WGBHA For a number of reasons, African-Americans fled slavery in the South to the north. Many slaves were driven to risk their lives in order to escape plantation life because of brutal physical punishment, psychological torture, and countless hours of hard labor without remuneration. When a master passed away, it was customary for slaves to be sold as part of the estate and for familial links to be severed. However, while some slaves journeyed with families or friends, the vast majority traveled alone, relying on the charity of fellow African Americans or abolitionist whites they met along the road for help.

African American men and women of all ages escaped from the plantation and travelled north in search of liberty and opportunity.

Escape from the deep South and make it north to New York, Massachusetts, or Canada required a trek of hundreds of miles, much of which was done on foot, to get there.

Runaway slave advertising in local newspapers were routinely issued by plantation owners whose slaves had gotten away.

Not all fugitive slaves made their way to the North.

Some runaways created freedmen’s encampments in harsh rural places where they could remain concealed from slave catchers and local law enforcement agencies, while others chose urban settings.

The trip to freedom for slaves who resided in border states such as Maryland, Kentucky, and Virginia may be short and less terrifying if they lived in one of these states.

Slaves who resided in areas where they had access to freshwater and saltwater ports were frequently stowed away or employed as crew members on Northbound boats.

After the enactment of the second Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, escaping from bondage became more difficult than it had ever been.

Federal marshals who failed to enforce the law against fugitive slaves, as well as anybody who assisted them, were subjected to harsh punishment.

Hicksite Quakers and other abolitionists in the North were among those who supplied some of the most organized assistance for the Underground Railroad.

The vast majority of the thousands of slaves who attempted to flee the farms each year were unsuccessful.

Others were escorted back to their homes in chains after being apprehended by law enforcement or professional slave catchers.

In 1791, a statute was established in Upper Canada, which is now Ontario, to progressively phase out slavery over a period of time.

The Underground Railroad thrived in communities such as Rochester and Buffalo, which were close to the boundaries of Upper Canada and were hotbeds of activity. Canada represented the Promised Land for those who had braved the long voyage and all of its difficulties.

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