The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad refers to enslaved African Americans’ secret efforts to escape from bondage through many routes. Ditlmann et al. (2017) explain that it operated from the eighteenth century to the Civil War, although the exact existence dates are unknown. The number of black people who escaped during that period is 100,000 approximately (Ditlmann et al., 2017). The involvement of people with the Railroad was dangerous and illegal. Therefore, they developed secret codes for protection purposes.
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The primary goal of the Underground Railroad was to help fugitive slaves. However, escaping slavery was not easy because it involved leaving the family behind and going to unknown areas where safety was not guaranteed. Therefore Ditlmann et al. (2017) explain that people implemented escape methods such as getting help from “conductors.” Harriet Tubman is an excellent example of a woman who made more than ten trips to rescue slaves from the South.
The slaves could time the winter season because the longer nights allowed them to cover more ground, and Saturdays because there were no runaway notices. The conductors used to disguise when entering plantation as slaves to gather escapees (Ditlmann et al., 2017). The slaves used secret routes that followed human-made and natural transportation modes such as canals, roads, rivers, and bays to flee. Conductors such as John Brown used fighting strategies and formed groups that intimidated slave-catchers into releasing slaves.
Dred Scott Case
Dred Scott, a social activist and slave who had worked for several masters, was born in Southampton county around 1799. He sued for his freedom, and the case reached the Supreme court before the start of the United States’ Civil War (Ditlmann et al., 2017). Dred argued that they should be granted freedom with his wife because they lived in Wisconsin and Illinois territories, where slavery was illegal, for four years.
Scott believed that he was free because the territory laws state that slaveholders would give up their rights to slaves who served them for long. However, the Supreme Court ruled that enslaved people were not American citizens but their master’s property in the March 6, 1857 case (Ditlmann et al., 2017). Therefore, the court ruled that 1820 Missouri Compromise which declared the west territories free, was unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court’s decision angered the Northerners, who turned to the Republican party, but gave the Southerners more power to continue slavery. The division between the North and South grew and resulted in the southern states’ secession from the Union and the establishment of America’s Confederate States (Ditlmann et al., 2017). Moreover, this decision acted as the Civil War’s stepping stone because it proved the abolitionists’ words about the impossibility of slavery elimination.
President Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson, a soldier, statesman, and soldier, was the seventh President of the United States. His leadership was controversial; therefore, people viewed him differently. For example, individuals referred to him as a commoner based on his family backgrounds and achievements (Cheathem, 2019). Contrary to other prominent presidents because their households were wealthy, Andrew was from a humble one. Moreover, individuals believed that Jackson’s experience was derived from hard work and determination.
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Voters across the United States, especially the West and South, supported Jackson’s Presidency and referred to him as a man of the people. This is because he was a self-made person and gave ordinary citizens more democratic rights (Cheathem, 2019). Andrew believed that expanding the political means and economic opportunity for the commoner would increase democracy in America. Therefore he restructured several federal institutions and extended white men’s suffrage.
However, Jackson trampled on the constitution and individual rights during his leadership. For example, Cheathem (2019) explains that President Andrew authorized the Nullification Proclamation on December 10, 1832, which forbids municipalities and States from annulling the federal laws. The reason is that Jackson believed that the government’s power was determined by Americans and not the states. Moreover, President Andrew supported the removal of an Indian bill in the American Congress.
Cheathem, M. R. (2019). The stubborn mythology of Andrew Jackson. Reviews in American History, 47(3), 342-348. Web.
Ditlmann, R. K., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Dovidio, J. F., & Naft, M. J. (2017). The implicit power motive in intergroup dialogues about the history of slavery. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 112(1), 116. Web.