Underground Railroad

Essay by KARRMAHigh School, 11th gradeA+, May 2004

download word file, 17 pages 3.0

"Give me liberty or give me death!" These moving words by Patrick Henry succeeded in inspiring American Patriots towards revolution. It was this idea of liberty at all costs that essentially founded the great United States of America. Ironically, it was precisely this principle which they fought for so passionately that they would deny to African Americans for approximately 300 years by making them slaves. However, their hypocritical efforts to suppress the African American race did not succeed in exterminating the very feeling that they themselves had nearly perfected. Regardless of their efforts, African Americans maintained their desire for freedom at all costs since years later Patrick Henry's words were unknowingly rephrased by Harriet Tubman, a runaway slave and prominent conductor of the notorious underground railroad, when she said, "There are two things in life to which I am entitled to, those are liberty and death, I I cannot have one, I shall have the other!"

Slavery in the American continent is said to have begun in the year 1526 when the Spanish brought over indentured servants to work for a designated period of time.

The history of slavery itself however, can be traced back to the practice by empires and nations that existed before the Common Era, of taking the inhabitants of villages and countries conquered at war and using them as slaves. However, with time the practice became les and less popular and eventually ceased. Christopher Columbus's arrival to the new world would mark the beginning of slavery in America. Even before the 1526 arrival of indentured servants, Columbus and his crew began using the native inhabitants of island such as the Hispaniola, to work the land and grow products to bring back to Spain, as well as to search for gold and work the various types...