Underground to Canada

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US History Essay: Underground to Canada

Though most people might not expect it, minor changes in America are the important things that helped launch the war and the controversy between the slave and free state. The Underground Railroad had many connections to the Civil War especially since slavery was the main problem during this era. The Underground Railroad had a huge significance on the issue of slavery and affected the cause of the Civil War by influencing the North to strengthen their resistance against the South. There was no actual documentation of when the Underground Railroad began, but some say that it was around 1837. The Fugitive Slave Act was passed in 1850, which was an act that would help slave owners protect their “property” rights, where slaves were considered property. This act allowed a person to take an African American into custody just by pointing out that they were a runaway. Even if they were free, they had no rights to prove their cases. The only things the court needed to send an African American South, was an affidavit asserting that the captive escaped from a slave holder, or a simple testimony by a white witness. These weren’t the only disadvantages of those that were accused. The Federal commissioner would be paid ten dollars if they ruled in favor of the slaveholder, and five dollars if they ruled in favor of the accused. Any citizen who refused to support the Fugitive Slave Act, could be jailed. This act angered the Northerners, and caused them to rebel against it. Though the Underground Railroad started before the Fugitive Slave Act was passed, the act made them want to strengthen their resistance even more. It made travelling in secrecy so much more important since a black person was no longer save in any part of the United States.

Sectionalism slowly increased between the North and the South after the War of 1812. After the war with Britain, cheap goods from Europe flooded the markets in America. These especially attracted the farmers and planters who could buy tools and materials for their farms. This threatened the new American manufacturing industry and they demanded protection from the competition. They put a tariff on the incoming goods from Europe called the Tariff of Abominations, which would protect their market and benefit them instead of competing against them. It kept the industries in the North from being driven out of business by putting taxes on the imported goods. The South remained predominantly agricultural while the North experienced an industrial expansion. The Southerners did not like the tariff since it only benefited those in the manufacturing industry. This caused the North to slowly separate from the South. Tensions rose up to boiling point when Missouri’s application for statehood brought up the question of whether they should be a free state or not. This was first solved with the Missouri Compromise, which had a constant reappearance throughout the multiple debates between the North and South. Both sides would at first, be insidious by destroying the opposing side’s property, and boycotting their projects, especially those related to transportation. “Border ruffians”, from Missouri wanted to elect a proslavery legislature. They disliked the fact that more Northerners arrived in Kansas to outvote them, so they attacked the town of Lawrence, where the majority of antislavery settlers lived. They wrecked newspaper presses, burned down the home of the elected free-state governor and a hotel, and raided houses and shops. This only led to greater detestation towards each other. Fears of slave revolts and abolitionist propaganda made the South hostile to abolitionism. Of course, the North played their part in contributing to the South’s cause for hostility, by partaking in events such as John Brown’s raid, but the decision of the permittance of slavery, whether legally or morally, has been known to be one of the most controversial topics in the history of...
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