The Underground Railroad was a network of both African-American as well as whites offering shelter to escape being enslaved people from the South. The majority of slaves escaped through border states like Virginia, Kentucky and Maryland. The fugitive slave act of 1793 made capturing escaped slaves of big business and there were very few places to hide.people called conductors guided slaves to private homes, churches and school houses. The safe places were called stations or depots. The people operating them were called stationmaster's.

Canada was the final decimation for many slaves traveling through the Underground Railroad. An estimated 30,000-40,000 former slaves settled in Canada, most between 1850 and 1860. Estimates of the number of slaves who reached freedom varies greatly as many setteled in the north and did not want to bring attention to themselves. Some estimate at least 100,000 slaves were helped towards freedom through the Underground Railroad.

Only a small minority of Northerners participated in the Underground Railroad but its very existence proved northern sympathy for the lot of the slaves in the antebellum. At the same time it convinced many Southerners that the North as a whole would not allow the institution of slavery to remain unchallenged.

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