How The Underground Railroad Caused The Civil War? (Professionals recommend)

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.

How did the Underground Railroad lead to the Civil War quizlet?

How did the Underground Railroad cause the Civil War? *The Underground Railroad was a escape route for fugitive slaves in America. *Slaves would be helped by Northerners or “Quakers” who help slaves escape to Canada. *The Underground Railroad made the South mad because this was beneficial to slaves.

How did the Underground Railroad affect slavery?

The work of the Underground Railroad resulted in freedom for many men, women, and children. It also helped undermine the institution of slavery, which was finally ended in the United States during the Civil War. Many slaveholders were so angry at the success of the Underground Railroad that they grew to hate the North.

How did the Underground Railroad cause tensions between North and South?

The Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 – federal legislation that allowed slave hunters to capture an escapee in any territory or state with only oral proof that the person was a runaway – increased tensions between North and South, thereby moving the country closer to war.

Did the Underground Railroad help end the Civil War?

The Underground Railroad ceased operations about 1863, during the Civil War. In reality, its work moved aboveground as part of the Union effort against the Confederacy.

What were the causes of the Civil War?

Causes of the Civil War

  • Slavery. At the heart of the divide between the North and the South was slavery.
  • States’ Rights. The idea of states’ rights was not new to the Civil War.
  • Expansion.
  • Industry vs.
  • Bleeding Kansas.
  • Abraham Lincoln.
  • Secession.
  • Activities.

When was the Underground Railroad started and ended?

system used by abolitionists between 1800-1865 to help enslaved African Americans escape to free states.

What caused the Underground Railroad?

The Underground Railroad was established to aid enslaved people in their escape to freedom. The railroad was comprised of dozens of secret routes and safe houses originating in the slaveholding states and extending all the way to the Canadian border, the only area where fugitives could be assured of their freedom.

Where did the Underground Railroad lead to?

Underground Railroad routes went north to free states and Canada, to the Caribbean, into United States western territories, and Indian territories. Some freedom seekers (escaped slaves) travelled South into Mexico for their freedom.

How did the Underground Railroad affect the South?

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. It also gave many African Americans their first experience in politics and organizational management.

Was the Underground Railroad civil disobedience?

However, in some places, especially after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the Underground Railroad was deliberate and organized. Despite the illegality of their actions, people of all races, class and genders participated in this widespread form of civil disobedience.

How did the Uncle Tom’s Cabin lead to the Civil War?

By the mid-1850s, the Republican Party had formed to help prevent slavery from spreading. It’s speculated that abolitionist sentiment fueled by the release of Uncle Tom’s Cabin helped usher Abraham Lincoln into office after the election of 1860 and played a role in starting the Civil War.

How successful was the Underground Railroad?

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.

Were there tunnels in the Underground Railroad?

Contrary to popular belief, the Underground Railroad was not a series of underground tunnels. While some people did have secret rooms in their houses or carriages, the vast majority of the Underground Railroad involved people secretly helping people running away from slavery however they could.

The Underground Railroad

At the time of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in their attempts to flee to freedom in the northern states. Subjects History of the United States, Social StudiesImage

Home of Levi Coffin

Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and abolitionist. This was a station on the Underground Railroad, a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in escaping to the North during the Civil War. Cincinnati Museum Center provided the photography. “> During the age of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in escaping to the North, according to the Underground Railroad Museum.

Although it was not a real railroad, it fulfilled the same function as one: it carried passengers across large distances.

The people who worked for the Underground Railroad were driven by a passion for justice and a desire to see slavery abolished—a drive that was so strong that they risked their lives and jeopardized their own freedom in order to assist enslaved people in escaping from bondage and staying safe while traveling the Underground Railroad.

  • As the network expanded, the railroad metaphor became more prevalent.
  • In recent years, academic research has revealed that the vast majority of persons who engaged in the Underground Railroad did it on their own, rather than as part of a larger organization.
  • According to historical tales of the railroad, conductors frequently pretended to be enslaved persons in order to smuggle runaways out of plantation prisons and train stations.
  • Often, the conductors and passengers traveled 16–19 kilometers (10–20 miles) between each safehouse stop, which was a long distance in this day and age.
  • Patrols on the lookout for enslaved persons were usually on their tails, chasing them down.
  • Historians who study the railroad, on the other hand, find it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction.
  • Eric Foner is one of the historians that belongs to this group.
  • Despite this, the Underground Railroad was at the center of the abolitionist struggle during the nineteenth century.
  • Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and abolitionist.
  • Cincinnati Museum Center provided the photography.
  • Person who is owned by another person or group of people is referred to as an enslaved person.

Slavery is a noun that refers to the act of owning another human being or being owned by another human being (also known as servitude). Abolitionists utilized this nounsystem between 1800 and 1865 to aid enslaved African Americans in their attempts to flee to free states.

Media Credits

Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and an abolitionist. As a halt on the Underground Railroad, his home served as an important link in the emancipation of slaves from the South to the United States’ northern climes. Cincinnati Museum Center took the photographs. “> While slavery was in effect, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in escaping to the northern hemisphere during that time period.

However, even though it was not a genuine railroad, it fulfilled a similar function: it moved people across large distances.

Many of the people who worked on the Underground Railroad were motivated by a desire for justice and a desire to see slavery put out of business—a motivation that was so strong that they were willing to risk their lives and their own freedom in order to aid enslaved individuals in their escape from bondage and to keep them safe along their journey.

  • The train metaphor became more and more prevalent as the network increased in size and complexity.
  • It was known to as “stations” where the runaways were housed, while “station masters” were those who were in charge of concealing the captives.
  • In recent years, academic research has revealed that the vast majority of persons who engaged in the Underground Railroad did it on their own, rather than as members of a larger organization.
  • It has been said that conductors regularly pretended to be enslaved persons in order to smuggle runaways off of plantations during the early days of the railroad.
  • Often, the conductors and passengers went 16–19 kilometers (10–20 miles) between each safehouse stop, which was a long distance for them.
  • On a regular basis, patrols on the lookout for enslaved persons were hard on their tails.
  • Truth and fiction are difficult to distinguish in the minds of historians who study the railroad.

Instead, they argue that much of the action took place openly and in broad daylight.

He went back into the history of the railroad and discovered that, while a massive network existed that kept its actions hidden, the network grew so powerful that it was able to push the myth’s boundaries even farther.

It was the railroad that intensified racial tensions between northern and southern states and hence helped to precipitate the Civil War.

As a halt on the Underground Railroad, his home served as an important link in the emancipation of slaves from the South to the United States’ northern climes.

Civil WarNoun(1860-1865) An American struggle between the Union (north) and the Confederacy (south).

Abolitionists utilized this nounsystem between 1800 and 1865 to aid enslaved African Americans in their attempts to escape to free territories.

Director

Tyson Brown is a member of the National Geographic Society.

Author

The National Geographic Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the exploration of the world’s natural wonders.

Production Managers

Gina Borgia is a member of the National Geographic Society. Jeanna Sullivan is a member of the National Geographic Society.

Program Specialists

According to National Geographic Society’s Sarah Appleton, Margot Willis is a National Geographic Society photographer.

Last Updated

  • User Permissions are set to expire on June 21, 2019. Users’ permissions are detailed in our Terms of Service, which you can see by clicking here. Alternatively, if you have any issues regarding how to reference something from our website in your project or classroom presentation, please speak with your instructor. They will be the most knowledgeable about the selected format. When you contact them, you will need to provide them with the page title, URL, and the date on which you visited the item.

Media

If a media asset is available for download, a download button will show in the lower right corner of the media viewer window. If no download or save button displays, you will be unable to download or save the material.

Text

The text on this page is printable and may be used in accordance with our Terms of Service agreement.

Interactives

  • Any interactives on this page can only be accessed and used while you are currently browsing our site. You will not be able to download interactives.
See also:  Which Abolitionist Group Was Based In Philadelphia To Aid The Underground Railroad? (The answer is found)

Underground Railroad

See how abolitionists in the United States, like as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Thomas Garrett, assisted enslaved people in their attempts to escape to freedom. Learn about the abolitionist movement in the United States, as well as the importance of the Underground Railroad in this historical period. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. is a publishing company that publishes encyclopedias. View all of the videos related to this topic. When escaped slaves from the South were secretly assisted by sympathetic Northerners, in defiance of the Fugitive Slave Acts, to reach safe havens in the North or Canada, this was referred to as the Underground Railroad in the United States.

Even though it was neither underground nor a railroad, it was given this name because its actions had to be carried out in secret, either via the use of darkness or disguise, and because railroad words were employed in relation to the system’s operation.

In all directions, the network of channels stretched over 14 northern states and into “the promised land” of Canada, where fugitive-slave hunters were unable to track them down or capture them.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, best known for her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, obtained firsthand experience of escaped slaves via her association with the Underground Railroad in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she lived for a time during the Civil War.

The existence of the Underground Railroad, despite the fact that it was only a small minority of Northerners who took part in it, did much to arouse Northern sympathy for the plight of slaves during the antebellum period, while also convincing many Southerners that the North as a whole would never peacefully allow the institution of slavery to remain unchallenged.

When was the first time a sitting president of the United States appeared on television? Return to the past for the really American responses. Amy Tikkanen has made the most current revisions and updates to this page.

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?

According to historical records, the Quakers were the first organized organization to actively assist fugitive slaves. When Quakers attempted to “liberate” one of Washington’s enslaved employees in 1786, George Washington took exception to it. Abolitionist and Quaker Isaac T. Hopper established a network in Philadelphia in the early 1800s to assist enslaved persons who were fleeing their masters’ hands. Abolitionist societies founded by Quakers in North Carolina lay the basis for escape routes and safe havens for fugitives at the same time.

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

She was the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad, and her name is Harriet Tubman. In 1849, she and two of her brothers managed to escape from a farm in Maryland, where they were born into slavery under the name Araminta Ross. Harriet Tubman was her married name at the time. While they did return a few of weeks later, Tubman set out on her own shortly after, 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 people.

Tubman was distraught until she had a vision of God, which led her to join the Underground Railroad and begin escorting other runaway slaves to the Maryland state capital of Fredericksburg. In order to avoid being captured by the United States, Tubman would transport parties of escapees to Canada.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Charles Torrey was sentenced to six years in jail in Maryland for assisting an enslaved family in their attempt to flee through Virginia.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. He managed to elude capture twice.

End of the Line

Abolitionist He was a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and it was during this time that he founded the League of Gileadites, an organization dedicated to aiding fleeing slaves in their journey to Canada. With the abolitionist movement, Brown would play a variety of roles, most notably leading an assault on Harper’s Ferry to raise an armed army that would march into the deep south and free enslaved people under threat of death. Eventually, Brown’s forces were defeated, and he was executed for treason in 1859.

  1. The year 1844, he formed a partnership with Vermont schoolteacher Delia Webster, and the two of them were jailed for aiding an escaped enslaved woman and her child escape.
  2. When Charles Torrey assisted an enslaved family fleeing through Virginia, he was sentenced to six years in jail in Maryland.
  3. was his base of operations; earlier, he had served as an abolitionist newspaper editor in Albany, New York.
  4. In addition to being fined and imprisoned for a year, Walker had the letters “SS” for Slave Stealer tattooed on his right hand.

As a slave trader, Fairfield’s strategy was to travel across the southern states. Twice he managed to escape from prison. Tennessee’s arebellion claimed his life in 1860, and he was buried there.

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.

The Secret History of the Underground Railroad

Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race was the title of a series published by De Bow’s Review, a leading Southern periodical, a decade before the Civil War. The series was deemed necessary by the editors because it had “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion. When it comes to African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.

  • However, it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously undiscovered medical illness, which he coined “Drapetomania, or the sickness that causes Negroes to flee,” that grabbed the most attention from readers.
  • Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their migration was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater calamity.
  • How long do you think it will take until the entire cloth begins to unravel?
  • Rather, it was intentionally supported and helped by a well-organized network that was both large and diabolical in scope.
  • The word “Underground Railroad” brings up pictures of trapdoors, flickering lamps, and moonlit routes through the woods in the minds of most people today, just as it did in the minds of most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
  • At least until recently, scholars paid relatively little attention to the story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the national consciousness.
  • The Underground Railroad was widely believed to be a statewide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” but was it really a fiction of popular imagination conjured up from a succession of isolated, unconnected escapes?
  • Which historians you trust in will determine the solutions.
See also:  What Was The Underground Railroad Book Publishers? (Solution)

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a decade after the Civil War and documented a “great and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he identified by name, as well as a “great and intricate network” of agents (nearly all of them white).

  • “I escaped without the assistance.
  • C.
  • “I have freed myself in the manner of a man.” In many cases, the Underground Railroad was not concealed at all.
  • The journal of a white New Yorker who assisted hundreds of runaway slaves in the 1850s was found by an undergraduate student in Foner’s department at Columbia University while working on her final thesis some years ago, and this discovery served as the inspiration for his current book.
  • One of the book’s most surprising revelations is that, according to the book’s subtitle, the Underground Railroad was not always secret at all.
  • The New York State Vigilance Committee, established in 1850, the year of the infamous Fugitive Slave Act, officially declared its objective to “welcome, with open arms, the panting fugitive.” Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.

Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” provided donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad, no matter how unlikely it may seem, became popular fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities.

  1. Political leaders, especially those who had taken vows to protect the Constitution — including the section ordering the return of runaways to their proper masters — blatantly failed to carry out their obligations.
  2. Judge William Jay, a son of the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, made the decision to disregard fugitive slave laws and contributed money to aid runaway slaves who managed to flee.
  3. One overlooked historical irony is that, up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as they were by Southern slaveholders, a fact that is worth noting.
  4. It was not recognized for its abolitionist passion, in contrast to places like as Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—­as well as communities in upstate New York such as Buffalo and Syracuse.

Even before the city’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, its economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South, as evidenced by a gloating editorial in the De Bow newspaper, published shortly before the Civil War, claiming the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” New York banks lent money to plantation owners to acquire slaves, while New York merchants made their fortunes off the sale of slave-grown cotton and sugar.

  • Besides properly recapturing escapees, slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—in order to sell them into Southern bondage.
  • The story begins in 1846, when a man called George Kirk slipped away aboard a ship sailing from Savannah to New York, only to be discovered by the captain and shackled while awaiting return to his owner.
  • The successful fugitive was escorted out of court by a phalanx of local African Americans who were on the lookout for him.
  • In this case, the same court found other legal grounds on which to free Kirk, who rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and made his way to the safety of Boston in short order this time.
  • In addition to being descended from prominent Puritans, Sydney Howard Gay married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.
  • Co-conspirator Louis Napoleon, who is thought to be the freeborn son of a Jewish New Yorker and an African American slave, was employed as an office porter in Gay’s office.
  • Gay was the one who, between 1855 and 1856, maintained the “Record of Fugitives,” which the undergraduate discovered in the Columbia University archives and which chronicled more than 200 escapes.

Dr.

One first-person narrative starts, “I ate one meal a day for eight years.” “It has been sold three times, and it is expected to be sold a fourth time.

Undoubtedly, a countrywide network existed, with its actions sometimes shrouded in secrecy.

Its routes and timetables were continually changing as well.

As with Gay and Napoleon’s collaboration, its operations frequently brought together people from all walks of life, including the affluent and the poor, black and white.

Among others who decamped to Savannah were a light-skinned guy who set himself up in a first-class hotel, went around town in a magnificent new suit of clothes, and insouciantly purchased a steamship ticket to New York from Savannah.

At the height of the Civil War, the number of such fugitives was still a small proportion of the overall population.

It not only played a role in precipitating the political crisis of the 1850s, but it also galvanized millions of sympathetic white Northerners to join a noble fight against Southern slave­holders, whether they had personally assisted fugitive slaves, shopped at abolitionist bake sales, or simply enjoyed reading about slave escapes in books and newspapers.

  1. More than anything else, it trained millions of enslaved Americans to gain their freedom at a moment’s notice if necessary.
  2. Within a few months, a large number of Union soldiers and sailors successfully transformed themselves into Underground Railroad operatives in the heart of the South, sheltering fugitives who rushed in large numbers to the Yankees’ encampments to escape capture.
  3. Cartwright’s most horrific nightmares.
  4. On one of the Union’s railway lines, an abolitionist discovered that the volume of wartime traffic was at an all-time high—­except on one of them.
  5. The number of solo travelers is quite limited.” And it’s possible that New Yorkers were surprised to open their eyes in early 1864.

The accompanying essay, on the other hand, soon put their worries at ease. It proposed a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward up Broadway from the Battery to Central Park. It was never built.

Underground Railroad

Escapees from slavery travelled north in order to reclaim their freedom and escape harsh living conditions in their home countries. They required daring and cunning in order to elude law enforcement agents and professional slave catchers, who were paid handsomely for returning them to their masters’ possession. Southerners were extremely resentful of people in the North who helped the slaves in their plight. They invented the name “Underground Railroad” to refer to a well-organized network dedicated to keeping slaves away from their masters, which occasionally extended as far as crossing the Canadian border.

In 1850, Congress created the Fugitive Slave Law, which imposed severe fines on anybody found guilty of assisting slaves in their attempts to flee.

Underground Railroad “Stations” Develop in Iowa

Escapees from slavery travelled north in order to reclaim their freedom and escape horrible living conditions back home. Their boldness and cunning were required in order to elude law enforcement agents and professional slave catchers, who were paid handsomely for returning them to their masters. People in the South were furious with Northerners for assisting the slaves, and the North was furious with them. They developed the name “Underground Railroad” to refer to a well-organized network dedicated to keeping slaves away from their masters, which occasionally extended as far as the Canadian border.

Fugitive Slave Law was created by Congress in 1850 and punishes anybody found guilty of assisting slaves in their attempts to flee the country.

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

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
See also:  What Is The Underground Railroad Actually Underground? (Solution)

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

  • Once freed from slavery, many people looked to northern whites to guide them securely to the northern free states and eventually to Canadian territory. Having previously been in slavery was extremely risky. For their capture, there were awards and marketing, such as the poster seen below, to encourage them. More information may be found at:

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:

  • Several African Americans, perhaps fleeing slaves, are seen with firearms pointed at slave hunters in an image from 1872. 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, according to legend. More information may be found at:
  • Maryland’s Pathways to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in the State of Maryland On this page, you can find primary materials pertaining to Maryland and the Underground Railroad. Information from three former slaves, Samuel Green, Phoebe Myers, and others is included in this collection. “The Underground Railroad: A Secret History” by Eric Foner is a book on the history of the Underground Railroad. The author of this piece from The Atlantic discusses the “secret history” of the Underground Railroad, which he believes reveals that the network was not nearly as secretive as many people believe. Emancipation of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery According to “Documenting the American South,” this webpage focuses on how slaves William and Ellen Craft escaped from Georgia and sought asylum and freedom in the United States’ northern states.

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 Little-Known History of the Underground Railroad in New York

Cyrus Gates House, located in Broome County, New York, was formerly a major station on the Underground Railroad’s route through the country. Commons image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons There was a time when New York City wasn’t the liberal Yankee bastion that it is now. When it came to abolitionists and abolitionist politics in the decades preceding up to the Civil War, the city was everything but an epicenter of abolitionism. Banking and shipping interests in the city were tightly related to the cotton and sugar businesses, both of which relied on slave labor to produce their products.

However, even at that time, the Underground Railroad, a network of hidden safe houses and escape routes used by fugitive slaves seeking freedom in the North, passed through the city and into the surrounding countryside.

In New York, however, the full extent of the Underground Railroad’s reach has remained largely unknown, owing to the city’s anti-abolitionist passion.

“This was a community that was strongly pro-Southern, and the Underground Railroad was working in much greater secrecy here than in many other parts of the North, so it was much more difficult to track down the Underground Railroad.”

Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

A significant station on the Underground Railroad previously existed at Cyrus Gates House in Broome County, New York. The Commons has a lot of great pictures! There was a time when New York City wasn’t the liberal Yankee bastion that it is now. When it came to abolitionists and abolitionist politics in the decades preceding up to the Civil War, the city was everything from an abolitionism hotspot. Banking and shipping interests in the city were intertwined with the cotton and sugar industry, both of which relied heavily on slave labor.

However, even at that time, the Underground Railroad, a network of hidden safe houses and escape routes used by fugitive slaves seeking freedom in the North, passed through the city and into the surrounding region.

According to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner, a professor at Columbia University, “While there is a lot out there on the Underground Railroad, relatively little has been done regarding New York City.” Considering that this was a pro-Southern town, and the Underground Railroad operated in much greater secrecy here than in many other parts of the North, it was much more difficult to track down the fugitives.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *