Slavery And The Underground Railroad

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The Fugitive Slave Acts were an act of rebellion against slaves escaping. There was already the fugitive slave act that was created in 1793 to allow slave masters to force slaves back into captivity, but it was not enforced that much. By 1850, there were many slaves that escaped and the since there could not be any more slaves imported, the price of a slave rose exponentially. The new acts in 1850 forced any citizen who saw a runaway slave to catch them, and “It also denied slaves the right to a jury trial and increased the penalty for interfering with the rendition process to $1000 and six months in jail” (History.com). This was a method rebellion against slaves for escaping, but the act fell through quickly because by then, almost no one…show more content…
Often times, the individuals who would be helping the slaves would often hear about the horrors of slavery, but they could not feel or visualize the suffering of slaves. The Underground Railroad was that tool that spread a change of perceptions because even the most stubborn of individuals, when they witnessed the conditions of the slaves, and they heard the stories the slaves told when slaves became free, that challenged the dominant ideologies of slavery being good. When thousands of slaves permeated the borders of the northern states, naturally even those who wanted to reject African Americans had to confront and live with the fact that African Americans are not slaves. This generated support for abolition because African Americans were quite competent when they did not have to the basic servile duties for their slave masters. Talented black men like Benjamin Banneker and Phillis Wheatley, a mathematician and a famous poet, proved that free black men could contribute to society (Divine et al 138). White, racist exploiters who have resources, weapons, and the law on their side could not capture back their slaves, and this proved to many that African Americans were capable of organizing and creating solutions to problems. (Weiser) While this may not have changed their perceptions of African Americans as equal, it altered the…show more content…
The purpose of the Underground Railroad was to free slaves from the ownership of slave owners, and did just that. Over 100,000 thousand slaves were freed from slave owners, and they managed to live their own lives. While slaves escaping did bring about anti-black sentiment from the Southern States most clearly seen in the Fugitive Slave Act, it brought support for abolition because white people could see that all the slaves were just as human as the rest of them. This may not have changed their beliefs of inferiority, but it did change their beliefs that African Americans deserved such cruel treatment. After the awareness of the slaves’ capabilities and the living in communities with slaves, white people in the North that still supported slavery changed their stance after seeing first hand that black people, not just the few free blacks, were similar to everyone else. After the Underground Railroad, moral code came into question, and with the Constitution demanding all people be equal, the people in the North could no longer bear to uphold slavery. The Underground Railroad was risky and dangerous, but it furthered racial equality by creating a coalition against slavery and by freeing African
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