The Civil War : Opposing Slavery

1139 WordsApr 14, 20175 Pages
Before the Civil War: Opposing Slavery “By 1860, the South contained more slaves than all the other slave societies in the New World combined’ (Roark, 331). Slavery was the backbone of the American Southern states’ economy, a highly controversial topic, and eventually the cause of the American Civil war. Even before the Civil War, there were many American groups who opposed slavery. In the early 19th century there were several forces that opposed slavery, both in the North and the South, they used different methods, but were all striving for the same goal, the freedom of slaves in the United States of America. There were three influential forces in the North and two in the South. Opposition to slavery occurred in both the North and the…show more content…
The Abolitionists strived for legal emancipation, and a few Northern blacks encouraged a fight for freedom, but one group actively worked for the freedom of slaves one at a time. The final Northern force which opposed slavery during the early nineteenth century, was those who assisted escaped slaves to freedom. Some, but not all, of these people were part of the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a route to freedom, marked by safe houses also called “stations” to fit with the railroad theme. These stations were manned by sympathetic Northern whites and free Northern blacks nicknamed “conductors”. According to The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia the Underground Railroad was “established by abolitionists in defiance of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850” (Underground Railroad). The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 stated that Southerners could pursue their slaves into the North and also that Northerners legally needed to assist in the recapture of escaped slaves (Roark, 362). The destinations of the Underground Railroad included Canada and safe areas in Northern states. Many people participated in the Underground Railroad as conductors, others assisted escaped slaves even if they were not part of the Underground Railroad. Although the Underground Railroad assisted many slaves to freedom, the actual organization and extent of the railroad
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