Slavery in the Nineteenth Century

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Why did Harriet Tubman want to help slaves run away?  

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Harriet Tubman had experienced the brutal realities of slavery, having been enslaved for the first thirty years of her life. She was actually severely injured by an overseer and had what we would describe today as a serious brain injury. In addition, Tubman herself escaped from slavery, a factor that perhaps instilled in her a desire to help others like her. What immediately prompted her to take on a role of "conductor" on the Underground Railroad was the fact that much of her family was still enslaved. She returned to Maryland after her own escape to help several family members run away to freedom, and eventually her efforts went beyond family to include many others who wished to escape the brutality of slavery. Overall, she was motivated by the same beliefs that led many to resist and oppose slavery during the antebellum period. She hated the institution of slavery, understood its evils, and wished to do what she could to destroy it. Just before the Civil War, she consulted with John Brown about his plans to lead a revolt in western Virginia, and during the war, she worked as a nurse and a guide, participating directly in freeing enslaved people in the Deep South. She was also an extraordinary leader and especially adept at helping people negotiate the difficult and dangerous journey to freedom.

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Harriet Tubman was an abolitionist. She was born into slave and knew firsthand of its harsh effects that it had on her people. She escaped to freedom in 1849 leaving behind her family. She then set out to make it her life’s work to help other slaves escape to freedom, just like she had done.

Harriet Tubman was a very famous conductor on what was known as the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a system of hiding places and escape routes that conductors used to help slaves escape to freedom in the North. The hiding places were called stations. It was here that the slaves stayed and slept during the day. At night, they followed the escape routes led by the conductors. This process was repeated until they reached freedom in the North. Harriet Tubman was determined to help her people escape from slavery. She made many trips into the South and successfully conducted every escape she led. This included bringing her family out of slavery and into freedom. Harriet Tubman was an influential abolitionist who helped many slaves get their freedom.

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