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Lonnie G / Blog

Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad was a network of escape routes from the Slave territories to the Northern Free States and farther north to Canada. These routes and safe houses were begun in the late 18th Cetury by the Quakers, the progenetors of the Abolitionist movement. Safe Houses were "Stations". Escapees were "Cargo or Passengers"...Those who helped them along the way were Conductors...hence the "Railroad" reference. Harriet Tubman was born Amarinta (Harriet) Ross on a Plantation in Maryland in 1820. In 1849 she escaped to Philadelphia where she met William Still, a major player in the Underground Railroad. Rather than stay in Pennsylvania she returned to the Plantations to help other slaves escape to freedom. Once the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 became law Tubman re-routed the slaves from the Free States to Canada. The Bounty placed upon her fro her capture was $40,000.00 which in 2014 would be approx. $1.5 Million...She also becam a nurse for the Union and a Spy travelling deep into the South leading the Cumbahee River Raid freeing 700 slaves. She died in Auburn, New York in 1913. She is recognized as one of the great civilians in American History in the company of Betsy Ross and Paul Revere.

Dred Scott & The Missouri Compromise

In 1820, Henry Clay brokered the deal known as The Missouri Compromise calling for Maine to enter the Union as a free state and Missouri as a Slave state in order to maintain parody between slave and free states. The Compromise also deemed slavery to NOT be allowed in the New Territories. Since Missouri's Southern border was the boundary for growing cotton, the slave holders in Congress agreed to this. This Compromise lasted through until 1850 when it was challenged in the infamous Supreme Court Battle known as Dred Scott v Sandford.

Dred Scott was aslave who had been moved, with his owner, John Emerson, to different army postings in the U.S. After spending 2 years in Minnesota Scott declared himself Free under the Missouri Compromise. 80 year old Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, who believed slavery to be necessary and was himself a slave holder, ruled that slaves were not citizens and therefore could not sue in federal Court. He went further to say that the Compromise itself was unconstitutional as it refused the protection of property, which slaves were deemed to be and should be allowed to be taken anywhere without fear of being taken from their owners. His ruling struck down the Compromise and it was repealed.

THE GREAT STORM - When Cotton Was King

In 1781 the Articles of Confederation were passed giving soverignty to each state with the Central government subordinate to them. Herein lay, as well, another root of the plant of secession and war. \in 1787 the Northwest Ordinance guaranteed that the new states made out of this territory would exist Slave Free. As a compromise, it also made clear that slavery and the slave trade could NOT be restricted by law for 20 years.

Tobacco was no longer the CASH crop for the Southern Plantations. Cotton began its rise. In 1790 3,000 bales of cotton were produced in the USA. Then came the new Invention by Eli Whitney. The Cotton Gin(engine) boosted production 10-fold so that by 1801 cotton production increased to over 100,000 bales. By 1820 it was over 400,000 bales and by the time of the Civil War it was over 4,000,000 bales per year.

In 1803 came the Louisiana Purchase where the USA doubled in size westward offering up more prime cotton growing land. The South, instead of Industrializing and Mechanizing this booming new crop they merely procured more slaves to do the hard labour.

In 1790 the census counted 697,000 slaves. By 1810 that number exploded to 1,191,000 and before the war of 1860 it was well over 4,000,000.

The Sovereignty issue reared its head when the 4th Article of the Bill of Rights protected "Property" which slaves had become. The Slave States would not willingly aquiesce to the Central Governments dictates.

Secession talk was in the air.

THE GREAT STORM - The Journey

The Great Divide in the United Staes that ensued between theNorthern Industrial States and the Southern Agrarian States, had its Genesis long before a shot was fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, in April of 1861. In 1619 a Dutch Trading ship arrived in Jamestown, Virginia. On board were 50 indentured servants landed to a life of servitude. The ROOTS of the American Civil War were being planted.

The Genesis began with the forced exile of hundreds of thousands of men, woman and children from their homelands in West Africa and brought, via the cane plantations of the Caribbean, to their homes in the new colonies of North America. Rum, Sugar Cane and Slaves cme to the Colonies; Indigo, Rice and Tobacco were sent back to Europe while Slave traders procured more Africans for the Trans-Atlantic journey in an evcer revolving "Triangle of Trade".

It is believed that at least 18,000,000 slaves traversed the Atlantic Ocean between 1619 and 1808 when the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade was abolished. Close to 1/2 their numbers died on the voyage.

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