Slavery in the Nineteenth Century

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What is the significance of Harriet Tubman in nineteenth-century slavery?

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Harriet Tubman's life is significant because it stands as a testament to incredible courage in the face of evil.

Once she had escaped slavery herself, Tubman looked for ways she could help others. She was steadfast in her resolution and unwavering in her resolve. Unwilling to simply enjoy her newfound freedom, Tubman returned again and again to help others gain their own freedom by providing a path to the North via the Underground Railroad. This, of course, meant that she placed herself in direct opposition to the wealthy and powerful slave owners of the South, and they collectively put a price on her head, hoping that the sum would be enough to persuade poor Southern citizens to find her. Eventually, a $40,000 reward was posted for her death or capture, which would be worth over $600,000 today. Surely there were many Southerners looking for Tubman. Not only was she never captured, but she also never lost a "passenger" while leading people to freedom.

It is also important to note that Tubman was more than just a conductor on this Underground Railroad and continued looking for ways to serve others. She served as a nurse, caring for both black and white soldiers. She served as a spy for the Union army, gathering needed intelligence for their strategies. She disguised herself and walked around in Confederate towns, helping slaves locate employment and food in the North. She joined the quest for women's rights alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. She adopted a daughter, and she used her own home to care for the elderly.

Tubman's life shows the impact one individual can have when she is relentless about creating hope in situations of injustice. She served people in tangible ways, using her talents to make a definite impact on her world. We remember her because she was unstoppable in her quest to change the injustice around her. Tubman is a legacy because she shows the power that one fiercely-determined woman can have.

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Like Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman is a symbol of freedom for both women and blacks, though she is primarily significant as an escaped slave who fought to free other slaves.

Tubman's life story typifies the hardship many slaves endured, such as being sent out as a young child of five to care for white people's babies and being whipped brutally when she couldn't keep the babies from crying. From an early age, she stood against injustice; for example, Harriet Tubman stepped into the path of a flying weight being flung at another slave, suffering the blow to the head herself. This injury gave her health problems for the rest of her life.

Tubman is a symbol of courage because she not only escaped from slavery, but never stopped helping others to freedom. She is credited with leading 70 slaves to liberty through the Underground Railroad.

Despite a large amount of rhetoric at the time that claimed that women were the "weaker" sex and blacks were inferior to whites, Tubman's life story showed both concepts as lies. She was an extremely intelligent and capable black woman who, even near the end of her life in 1896 (she died in 1911), was active and engaged, opening a home for aged and indigent blacks.

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Harriet Tubman had a significant role in United States history as an abolitionist, political activist, and women's rights activist. Tubman was born into slavery during March 1822 in Dorchester County, Maryland. She grew up with a passion for her freedom. After enduring years of brutal mistreatment from the plantation master, Tubman fled from slavery to Philadelphia (a "free" state) in 1849 following the plantation owner's death. She soon returned to the plantation to assist her family in escaping also. This started what would be known as the Underground Railroad. Tubman helped her family and friends, through a series of hideouts called "safe houses," escape to freedom. Tubman completed a series of 13 trips from Maryland to Philadelphia (and later Ontario) to help approximately 70 slaves to freedom. Tubman was given the nickname Moses, referencing the Biblical Moses that helped guide the Hebrew slaves to freedom from Egypt. During the time Tubman was assisting slaves to escape through the Underground Railroad, she also worked with the Union Army as a spy.

In her later years, Tubman worked with renowned women's rights activists Susan B. Anthony and Emily Howard for women's voting rights. Tubman traveled throughout New York, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C. to speak and support women's voting rights. The Women's Era publication featured Tubman when it began circulation in the late 1890s.

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The major significance of Harriet Tubman is that she is seen as a symbol of how black people resisted slavery during the time before the Civil War.  Tubman is famous for being the "Moses" of her people because she did so much work to help slaves to escape from the South.

Tubman was born a slave in 1820.  She was born in Maryland.  In 1849, she escaped from slavery.  After escaping, she decided to try to help other slaves do what she had done.  To do this, she made many trips (something like 20) to the South to help others escape.

Because she was willing to take these risks to help slaves escape, Tubman became a symbol of bravery and the resistance to slavery.

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