Allan Pinkerton , born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1819, emigrated to Chicago. He was America's first "private eye."Ã¯Â¿Â½ A man of many contradictions, he was a conservative who strongly opposed slavery, a very cautious man who risked his life capturing criminals, a militant labor organizer who suppressed the labor movement, and fought for women's rights to be detectives.
During his twenty-eight year career as a private detective, Allan Pinkerton and his agency investigated over a thousand crimes. Pinkerton was involved in many dramas of the nineteenth century. Work and the Underground Railroad became his life. The Pinkerton's fed and sheltered fugitives in their own home. Pinkerton was a very moral man and despised slavery. The crisis over slavery brought the nation to the brink of the Civil War. The South demanded a guarantee that slavery would continue in the states where it was already established and permitted to spread to the Midwest and West.
The South also wanted the North to return any slaves who fled there via the Underground Railroad. The North wanted to stop the spread of slavery. In 1850 the Fugitive Slave Act was passed, which made it a federal crime for slaves to run away and a crime for anyone to assist them. Allan Pinkerton could be arrested and imprisoned for his involvement in assisting the slaves.
When the war began, Allan Pinkerton would finally combine his detective skills with his abolitionist beliefs. Allan Pinkerton protected Abraham Lincoln against southern radicals, who demanded the Union be dissolved and the Southern states form an independent government. They hated Lincoln because they feared he would abolish slavery. In 1861, Pinkerton uncovered a plot to assassinate President Lincoln. Pinkerton , with his top agents, posed as Southern sympathizers and found themselves within the conspirators. As a spy in the...