Abolitionism And The Underground Railroad In Massachusetts.

2542 words - 10 pages

Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad in MassachusettsMassachusetts was one of the prominent northern states which sought freedom for blacks subject to the oppression of slavery in the south in the nineteenth century. Men such as Wendell Philips and Samuel J. May of Boston epitomized the abolitionist cause in the north, not only by speaking out against the injustice of slavery but by harboring these very slaves in shelters in and around Massachusetts. The state served as a sort of buffer ground for escaped slaves seeking freedom and justice--New Bedford and Boston were primary stops for thousands of northbound escapees. Of the freedom offered by Massachusetts, African American Reverend W. M. Mitchell wrote:It is a glorious thing to gaze for the first time upon a land, where a poor Slave, flying from a so-called land of justice and liberty, would in a moment find his fetters broken, his shackles loosed, and whatever he was in the land of Washington, beneath the shadow of Bunker's Hill, or even Plymouth Rock, here he becomes a man and a brother.1These stops were part of a larger network run by abolitionists called the Underground Railroad, a phrase coined by a southern slaveholder who noted that the slaves seemed to conceal themselves so well and transport themselves so efficiently toward the northern free states. Controversies, however, abounded amidst the struggles; violent disputes erupted over the issues and difficulties posed by the oppressive Fugitive Slave Act. The state of Massachusetts played a prominent role in the abolitionist movement and served as a key station on the Underground Railroad.Slavery in America traces back its origins to the eighteenth century triangular slave trade. This system was composed of three parts: European goods were traded for African slaves; African slaves were sold in the Americas for plantation crops; plantation crops were transported for sale and consumption in Europe.2 Britain played the most significant role in the development of slavery in America, however. "The American Revolution and the years following excited new expectations that slavery must soon dwindle in strength and prestige. Such actual plans for ending it as maintaining high tariffs on the slave trade, or permitting slaves to buy their own freedom, were impractical."2 The battle for "freedom" against Britain proved victorious, yet Britain's hand of oppression seemed to have left its mark; America could not rid itself of these undemocratic principles. Moreover, slavery had few opponents in England in the past centuries, and thus this philosophy perhaps transferred over to the new world with the colonists.The Fugitive Slave Laws were enacted in February of 1793. The act entailed that "aiding runaway slaves became a federal offense" and "[a]nyone who harbored an escaped slave or prevented his or her arrest could be fined $500," a considerable sum of money for the time period. In 1850 the fine increased to $1000, a staggering number for almost...

Find Another Essay On Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad in Massachusetts.

The Underground Railroad Essay

639 words - 3 pages States and to Canada, before and during the Civil War.Some say that the Underground Railroad may have begun as early as 1804, helping more and more slaves to freedom. But it was firmly established in 1818, after the War of Independence had publicized Canada as a safe haven for runaway slaves.The Underground Railroad did not receive its name until around 1831. The name was actually inspired by slaveholders who claimed their slaves seemed to have

The Underground Railroad Essay

1473 words - 6 pages customs and traditions of their native land. These slaves fought for their existence and for their cultural heritage with the help of many people and places along the path we now call the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a secret operation that began during the 19th century, and reached its peak during the time of 1830 – 1865. The story of the Underground Railroad was one of individual sacrifice and great courage in the

The Underground Railroad

1165 words - 5 pages Civil War, it was estimated that over 4 million slaves were working in the South. Slaves were treated worse than the dogs of their owners. They were given little to eat and tiny shacks to live in. If they disobeyed, they were beaten. For these reasons, many slaves decided to risk their lives and run away in search of freedom. The Underground Railroad was formed in 1810 and more than 100,000 slaves escaped between 1810 and 1850. Following the

The Underground Railroad

2998 words - 12 pages compose 54th Massachusetts Brigade stationed in Charelston, South Carolina, across the street from the Citadel 1865 End of Civil War with the surrender of Confederate forces 1865 Thirteenth amendment to Constitution prohibits slavery in the United States 1872 William Still, free black in Philadelphia and most famous conductor, writes his book The Underground Railroad; he

Harriet Tubman And Underground Railroad

1892 words - 8 pages "Oppressed slaves should flee and take Liberty Line to freedom." The Underground Railroad began in the 1780s while Harriet Tubman was born six decades later in antebellum America. The Underground Railroad was successful in its quest to free slaves; it even made the South pass two acts in a vain attempt to stop its tracks. Then, Harriet Tubman, an African-American with an incredulous conviction to lead her people to the light, joins the

The role of Black Slavery in the United States and its progression. The resistance. The underground railroad to Canada.

953 words - 4 pages Freedom "Here the slave found freedom. Before the United States Civil War 1861-65 Windsor was an important terminal of the underground railway. Escaping from bondage, thousands of fugitive slaves from the South, men women and children landing near this spot found in Canada friends, freedom, protection under the British flag." (1995). The most known way the black slaves used to get to Canada was the underground railway. Many individuals provided

2 page essay on the Underground Railroad.

610 words - 2 pages Railroad was a happening that involved deep personal commitment, and the defiance of certain laws for the importance of a higher ethnical level. The Underground Rail road was not underground or a railroad. Usually historians describe it as a loosely constructed network of routes that originated in the South, and leaded north to Canada. Escape routes, however, were not restricted to the North, but also extended into western territories, Mexico, and

The Underground Railroad and Iowa: On the Road from Slavery to Freedom

2347 words - 9 pages The Underground Railroad and Iowa: On the Road from Slavery to Freedom “I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person… There was such a glory over everything. The sun came up like gold through the trees, and I felt like I was in Heaven.” Harriet Tubman uttered these words when she arrived in Pennsylvania, a free woman at last (National Geographic). Years later, when talking about the reasons she ran away, Ms. Tubman would state

Harriet Tubman: The Icon of the Underground Railroad

3120 words - 12 pages known by several names such as "Moses", in being the leader and guide to many in their exodus from the Land of Bondage, "Conductor of the Underground Railroad" and many more. The Underground Railroad, which was a passage to freedom for many slaves, was rife with dangers. The escape required both faith and courage. It is one of the most enduring and popular part of American history. (Clinton 215-217; Maxwell, Harriet Ross Tubman)African-Americans

This is a story about the Underground Railroad.

566 words - 2 pages Narrator 1: You may think the Underground Railroad is a train that goes underground. However, during the time slaves were trying to get their freedom it refers to the effort by many people to help slaves escape. The effort to free slaves started from 1820 and ran through1865 until the civil war ended. As slavery continued to be legal in the United States people organizing and running underground railroads increased. This showed that people in

The Devil In Massachusetts

635 words - 3 pages The Devil in Massachusetts is the story explaining what occurred in Salem Village in 1692. Salem Village was a little Puritan community where, as in all early colonial towns and villages during the time, religion was social life. The Puritan religion was formed by the differences in beliefs from the Church of England. Many searched for becoming free from religious persecution and found a sanctuary in the new world. The Puritan religion was

Similar Essays

Life In The Plantations, The Runaways And The Underground Railroad.

959 words - 4 pages resorted to the “Underground railroad” which was a loose network of houses and people who wanted to undermine slavery. It was very helpful for slaves because they had hide from slaveholders, who put up posters so as to catch them when they had escaped. As a matter of fact, between 1800-1865, around 1 million slaves could escape through it. To sum up, slavery has been an integral part of the economic system of the United Stated during so much time

The Underground Railroad In North Carolina

1283 words - 5 pages The Underground Railroad in North Carolina The Underground Railroad was perhaps the most active and dramatic protest action against slavery in United States history and as we look at the Underground Railroad in North Carolina we will focus on the Quakers, Levi Coffin’s early years, and the accounts of escaped slaves from North Carolina. The unique blend of southern slave holder and northern abolitionist influences in the formation of

The Underground Railroad Essay

1778 words - 8 pages two, it was a variety of safe places in houses, barns, shops, churches, and schools where slaves could hide out and stay (Ohio History Central). Then how is it that this name came to be? At that same time the railroad industry was growing and the way slaves traveled was similar to that of a train. They use the term underground because they couldn’t be seen and had to be secretive (PBS). According to Pathways To Freedom, as the slaves traveled

The Underground Railroad Essay

1612 words - 6 pages The Underground Railroad was made up of a series of safe houses and slave activists that made a great change in the history of slavery. The Underground Railroad was a very dangerous operation. The abolitionists always faced risking arrest and sometimes even faced risking their lives. So they created the Underground Railroad. (Donald, Underground 21) The Underground Railroad started operating as early as the 1500's. This was when the first