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It consisted of a network of safe houses and secret routes that were used by slaves to gain freedom by escaping into Canada where slavery was not…
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Discussion #4
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Discussion #4 Evaluate the contributions of the "Underground Railroad" to the abolition of slavery in the United States.
The Underground Railroad played an important role in giving freedom to slaves in the United States during the 19th century. It consisted of a network of safe houses and secret routes that were used by slaves to gain freedom by escaping into Canada where slavery was not permitted. These black slaves were helped by those sympathetic towards the abolition of slavery. Underground Railroad became more popular during the 1850s and is estimated to have given freedom to 100,000 slaves by 1850.
The Underground Railroad was an a railroad and neither was it located underground. Rather, many fugitives using the underground railroad had to travel by foot from one safe house to the another until they reached a free states. The fugitives faced great dangers from the slave catchers and their masters. If they were caught using the underground railroad, they would have been subjected to the worst punishment including being killed. Also the fugitives often had to travel without food. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 also posed problems for these fugitives since they could forced to return to their master even if they were living in a free state. Despite this, slaves continued to use the underground railroad to escape. This lessened the control and power the slave masters had over their slaves.
Also many of the slaves who were again to gain freedom returned to the become the voice of the oppressed. They actively protested against slavery and pressed for the abolition of slavery. These slavery were able to gain the sympathy of many white Americans who joined in with the protest to give more weight to the cause. The Underground Railroad eventually freed enough slaves to begin a civil unrest movement in the United States. It was the white Americans, seeing the conditions of the slaves, who pushed the civil war in the country.
The Underground Railroad also helped in the abolition of slavery because it allowed the protestors to come together and work as a group. This group, over the course of time, became more optimistic towards the cause. By helping free thousands of slaves each year, this group was able to gain strength and fight more actively for the abolition of slavery. Also the underground railroad was responsible for the establishment of many anti-slavery organizations including the American Anti-Slavery Society. These society kept the spirit of anti-slavery active amongst its members through different publications including essays, poems and even illustrations.
Many of the slaves who gained freedom also actively began their own anti-slavery movements. For instance, a fugitive by the name of Frederick Douglass become a famous abolitionist. He began publishing his own newspaper under the name of The North Stat and The Frederick Douglass Paper. Such papers help fuel the anti-slavery movement. This also became a voice of the black people for those who were willing to sympathize with the cause (Auken and Hunsinger, 58). The Underground Railroad movement not just secretly transferred slaves to safer areas but also questioned the presence of slavery laws in the US.
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Auken, Robin and Hunsinger, Louis, Williamsport: Boomtown on the Susquehanna, Sans Francisco: Arcadia Publishing, 2003, Print Read More
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