The Underground Railroad

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The Underground Railroad

One of the most shameful periods in history was the institution of slavery in the nineteenth century 2. Slavery was a divided issue in the 1800's. Most slaves brought to America were known as low class people who could bring no good, but history fails to state that many of the slaves who came were people of many trades, ambitions, as well as determinations. The Underground Railroad had its earliest beginnings with runaway slaves fleeing from the Southern United States into Canada. By confronting human bondage without direct demands or violence, the Underground Railroad played a definite role in the destruction of slavery. The Underground Railroad was a term used to describe a network of people who helped escaped slaves on their way to freedom. Supposedly, the term Underground Railroad originated when an enslaved runaway, Tice Davids, fled from Kentucky and may have taken refuge with John Rankin, a White abolitionist, in Ripley, Ohio. Determined to retrieve his property, the owner chased Davids to the Ohio River, but Davids suddenly disappeared without a trace, leaving his owner confused and wondering if the slave had "gone off on some underground road." The Railroad was begun as a result of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 2. The Fugitive Slave Act demanded that if an escaped slave was sighted, he or she must be turned in and sent back to the rightful owner 2. The Nation grew divided on the slavery question. The Fugitive Slave Law called for the return of bonded and indentured runaways, as well as freed African Americans. This threatened the protection of the freed slaves. Many North American indentured slaves were freed after they had served their time after five to seven years 6. Most runaways were males, however women and children did escape. Their numbers were smaller because they were more likely to be captured. Yet, The Underground Railroad became the most dramatic protest action against slavery in United States...
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