The Issue Of Slavery And The Civil War

1315 Words Dec 17th, 2015 6 Pages
The question of slavery and the rights of states to decide on the matter for themselves completely controlled politics in the years prior to the Civil War. Laws were passed, such as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which made it so any slaves that escaped were to be sent back to their owners. Not only would these runaway slaves be punished severely, but anybody who aided them in escape would also be subject to harsh punishment. These desperate men, women, and children had no protection in the legal system and were left with no options in life other than escape. Many of these escapees had to watch friends and family be beaten, sold, or even killed and were expected to work just as hard, like nothing had happened. After losing everything, it was regularly decided to they would rather live life fighting for their freedom than to suffer in captivity. In William Still’s collection of narratives and first-hand accounts titled The Underground Railroad, he covers the extreme measures, physical, and mental pain they experienced on their road to freedom.
A great deal is already known about the physical pain these slaves went through, but the mental agony they experienced is not mentioned nearly enough. Slaves lived with the sense of being more like an object than a person, being lonely, and feeling unwanted. One of the accounts written in the collection is from a man named William Peel (p.24). William is 25 years of age, is good looking and has an unmistakable color to go along with…

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