The name “Underground railroad” was given to a system in which escaped slave could escape to freedom. It’s believed the system was started by 1787 by Isaac hopper, a Quaker who started to organize a system of hiding places and sanctuaries in which fugitive slaves could rest, and get money to continue on to their path to freedom.It’s estimated that by 1850 3,000 people were working on the Underground railroad. The best know were William Still, Gerrit Smith, Salmon Chase, David Ruggle, Thomas Garret, William Purvis, Jane Swisshelm, William Brown, Fredrick Douglass, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B Anthony.
The Underground Railroad also had people known as conductors who went to the south and helped guide slaves to safety. One of the most famous of these was the former slave, Harriet Tubman. She made about 19 trips to the South, during which she led more than 300 slaves to freedom. Tubman was considered such a threat to the slave system that plantation owners offered a $40,000 reward for her capture.
The “Stations” were safe places in which slaves rested and prepared to journey on. They were usually Twenty miles apart. The conductors were the people who owned the safe houses, or led the slaves to freedom. The conductors would use things like covered wagons, or carts with false bottoms to secretly carry the slaves from one station to another. Usually hiding by day and traveling by night. Things such as a candle burning in a window marked the stations, or lanterns positioned in the front lawn. By the middle of the 19th century it was estimated that over 50,000 slaves had escaped from the South using the Underground Railroad.
Plantation Owners concerned with the amount of escaping slaves managed
to convince congress to pass the fugitive slave act, which allowed plantation owners to recapture their Runaways (Though they weren’t always theirs to begin with) without the accused having a court procedure