Underground Railroad Essays

Introduction for Essay

The underground railroad is a coven of secrecy, honor, dedication, compassion, and outright belief that slaves ought to be free. Spearheaded by many members of the public eye that bestowed upon me a dream and freedom. Fighting and enlightening those by day and harboring escapees by night. In this research paper, the intention is to inform about a piece of history about the underground railroad.

Research Paper on Underground Railroad

There are many myths that can be misleading about this piece of history. Some would say the railroads were unified and were a well-thought-out plan, but in all actuality, it was far from perfect. The actual organization was full of flaws and entangled in a series of lies used to deceive anyone that would antagonize against their dream.

Argumentative Essay Examples on Underground Railroad

It was a resistance, a will of the people wanting a positive change in history, and as history has always played out, the will of the people will prevail no matter the circumstance. The journey was tough and life-threatening, especially for mothers. Throughout this research paper, we will walk on the brink of a very difficult time in history, walking side by side with those who made the grueling journey following the rise, the fall, and the rise again as the Underground Railroad rebirths from its ashes like a flaming Phoenix more potent than ever.

Thesis Statement for Underground Railroad

The rise of the Underground Railroad was a tough start, a slow rise grasping for prowess and support. A reputation starts with a name everyone can rally behind, and the Underground Railroad had a very impactful one. Getting the name “Underground Railroad” comes from an account of a man seeking a runaway slave, saying it is like they just disappeared to an underground railroad. When the truth is totally opposite of that. Nevertheless, the name stuck, Underground Railroad, now standing for the underground resistance of the conductors, slaves wanting to be free, and of course, the abolitionist. There was no leader among those groups.

However, people did not follow a singular king or queen leading slaves to freedom; they all followed behind the ideas of the railroad instead. Almost every group worked separately, although there were some more prominent than others, such as Harriet Tubman, William Still, and many more. Where there was a believer in the railroad, a close-knit group soon followed, and slaves all across that area would start to go missing. Except that the close-knit group knew exactly what was happening to those slaves and exactly where they were. A secret now long lost to history. Although, with the growing reputation and power, the railroad became more susceptible to leaks, mouths started to talk and rumors started to spread of this organization that’s been working under the noses of everyone, stealing the “property” of the slave owners and they wanted them back.

This introduced the rise of the bounty hunters and the escalation of branding noticeable parts of the body so that an owner could always claim their slave again, as long as they were not in a free state or country. This was a problem that the South continuously had an issue with and was pushed to be resolved by Congress, not being able to claim slaves in free states or countries. Unfortunately, under tension from the newly developing North and pressure from the slave-reliant South, Congress had no choice but to pass the Fugitive Slave Acts, which introduced the first decline of the Underground Railroad, making the organization literally go underground.

Ideas – The Downfall and Resurgence of the Underground Railroad

The Fugitive Slave Acts, according to History.com under Fugitive Slave Acts, is a pair of Federal laws that allowed for the capture and return of runaway slaves within the territory of the United States. Enacted by Congress in 1793, the first Fugitive Slave Act authorized local governments to seize and return escaped slaves to their owners and imposed penalties on anyone who aided in their flight. (History.com Editors, September 12, 2018). This law, as long as the even harsher law of 1850, completely rendered the railroad and all that they had done futile, the South has triumphed, or so they thought.

The railroad suffered a major loss; normal procedures and processes were now exposed, and they had no more means of helping runaways. According to a documentary titled “The Underground Railroad,” a young man was placed in a box being shipped off, like normal; the railroad sent a telegram ahead, but sadly, the message was picked up by other sources through new technology, and the ship was seized, the runaway slave was captured and sent back. Or in another case, a mother had one chance to get away with her children, but due to the structural damage the railroad took, the mother had to make a daring choice.

Not leave and give up her chance at freedom or leave behind two of her four children. The mother took a heavy risk along with a heavy burden for the rest of her life. Yes, slaves all across the United States were being picked up by bounty hunters, searched for by hounds, ravaged by small groups, and even normal civilians. Beyond a doubt, accomplices and associates were being charged all across the country for providing any help at all to runaway slaves. This all sounds exactly like the fall of the railroad, although if not for death, there would be no rebirth, and there is no rising from the ashes better, stronger, and more determined than ever.

Secret Codes and Spirituals – An Innovative Approach

The railroad had to take a close look at all its businesses, at its public figure, and how it carried out everything it did. They had to start from scratch, rise from those ashes and be reborn. A quote from Harriet Tubman perfectly encompasses this “You’ll be free, or die a slave!” This was her one rule, once you started, you could never go back. This protected the conductors, the other runaways, and anyone involved. The slave owners knew exactly how to break slaves too.

The whips, the branding, the breaking, the cutting, and the torture could never amount to one punishment. The auction house, every pain on the human body can heal according to a documentary titled, “The Underground Railroad,” but the pain from watching your loved ones being taken away is the worst pain imaginable. But without a new means of leading slaves away to the safe haven, there would be no runaways to go back. This is where many got together and created spirituals and songs with secret messages.

One very popular, “Go Down Moses,” encouraged and let other slaves know something was going down soon, and that’s exactly what happened. This is the peak of the railroad, the full power of what they can do. The thought that they all died off or retreated with their tail behind their legs amused those still clawing for freedom. The Fugitive Slave Acts just made the conductors and slaves work even harder to get as many people as they could to Canada. Information is the conduit to which the world turns, and the railroad had all of it, while the slave owners and catchers had none of it. This is the railroad, larger than life.


In conclusion, the railroad was a blessing in disguise, connecting loved ones, providing freedom, and doing what was right. Just a bunch of small cogs turning, doing their part in one big machine. It had a few mishaps and downward spirals, but it persevered. Soon retiring until the railroad is called upon again by the people to fight for what is right another time. Many escapees that went free created generations upon generations that still exist today; we have roots deep in our past, and our future would not be possible without those tremendous people of long ago.

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