The Underground Railroad was one of the most pivotal movements in American history with both sides of the debate pointing to it’s impact in pushing the nation towards Civil War. The Railroad’s admirers glorify it as one of the proudest moments in American History, an example of the weak standing up to the powerful, an active refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of odious and sinful laws that stated that one man could be the property of another. The enemies of the Underground Railroad felt it was simply an unruly band of troublemakers with no respect for the law--that the South’s peculiar institution was a positive good, and those who would secretly and illegally work against it were traitors steering the Union towards a deadly conflict.
The Voice of the Pro Advocates
The notion that one man can make another his slave is so inherently wrongful as to be indefensible and any action undertaken to undermine such an institution can be committed with an unburdened conscience. The conductors of the Underground Railroad are willing to risk their own lives and freedom to help their fellow man escape the clutches of a tyrannical institution that is in violation of God’s law.
It is an obligation of conscience to free men from the barbarities of slavery, and until it is abolished it is imperitive to undertake every necessary action to do so. The laws of man are of little consequence when they are in violation of higher laws. The Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal;” now we must put into the Constitution what’s been left out: freedom for all men. Merely talking about the evils of slavery is not enough--men of integrity must act upon their pri...
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...R. http://www.calliope.org/thoreau/thurro/thurro1.html (02 April 2011)
Buckmaster, Henrietta, “The Underground Railroad” The North American Review
Vol. 246, No. 1 (Autumn, 1938), pp. 142-149
Calhoun, John C., Speech on the Reception of Abolition Petitions, 6 February 1837
Gara, Larry, “The Underground Railroad: Legend or Reality?” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society Vol. 105, No. 3 (Jun. 27, 1961), pp. 334-339
Preston, Jr., E. Delorus, “The Genesis of the Underground Railroad” The Journal of Negro History Vol. 18, No. 2 (Apr., 1933), pp. 144-170
Siebert, Wilbur Henry, The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1898.
Zorn, Roman J., “An Arkansas Fugitive Slave Incident and Its International Repercussions”
The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Vol. 16, No. 2 (Summer, 1957), pp. 139-149
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