- Education and Science»
- History & Archaeology»
- History of the Americas»
- American History
The American Civil War and the Underground Railroad
American Civil War
The northern states and southern states of the United States fought a war known as the American Civil War. The northern states wanted to stay together, and the southern states wanted their own country.
The southern states wanted to secede from the union and form a separate country called the Confederate States of America. They had their own constitution, and they elected Jefferson Davis, their president. Eleven southern states made up the Confederate Union, and they were often called the Confederacy.
The northern states were called the Union. The north had more states and industry. The north also had more people, resources and money.
The southern states were afraid that the United States were getting bigger, and the south would lose power. The wanted the Southern states to have more power and to govern themselves. The Southern states were afraid they would lose their right to have slaves because many of the northern states already had saws against slavery.
Abraham Lincoln was president during the Civil War. He wanted a strong union government, and he was also against slavery.
One of the worst United States wars was the Civil War. There were over 600,000 soldiers killed. The start of the civil war was at Fort Sumter in South Carolina in 1861. The Civil War ended in 1865 at Appomattox Court in Virginia when General Robert E. Lee of the Confederacy surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant from the Union.
A Ride for Liberty
The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad helped the slaves in the south escape to the north and Canada. It was not really a railroad. The Underground Railroad was made up of a group of people, homes and hideouts.
The people in the Underground Railroad used terms like the real railroads. The conductors were the people that took the slaves along the designated escape route. The stations also called depots were homes and places where the slaves hid on their journey. Stockholders were people that contributed money and food.
The conductors came from many backgrounds. They made sure the slaves had safe places to stay along the route. Harriet Tubman was a conductor and former slave. A slave that used the Underground Railroad to escape was Harriet Tubman. The Quakers on in the north helped the slaves. They would hide the slaves in their homes and feed them.
The Underground Railroad was very difficult and could be dangerous. The slaves usually moved at night on foot. The slaves would move from one station to the next and hope they would not get caught. The stations would be 10 to 20 miles apart, and the trip between the stations was dangerous. Helping the slaves escape was dangerous for the people helping and the slaves. It was against the law to help the escaped slaves, and the conductors were sometimes hanged if caught.
The Underground Railroad operated from 1810 to 1860. No one knows how many slaves escaped because they lived in secrecy. It is believed over 100,000 slaves escaped to freedom using the Underground Railroad.
The Fugitive Slave Act was passed by the United States in 1850. The Fugitive Slave Act said slaves captured in the north had to be returned to their owners in the south. This new law caused a lot of problems for the Underground Railroad. The Fugitive Slave Act meant the slaves had to go to Canada to be safe and free.
The Abolitionists believed that slavery needed to be made illegal. They wanted the slaves to be set free. In the 17th century, the Quakers started the Abolitionist movement. The first state to abolish slavery was Pennsylvania in 1780.