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ARCHIVED - Canadian Confederation

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Towards Confederation

Influence of the American Civil War

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was born a slave in Maryland in 1820. She escaped in 1849 and made at least 19 return trips to the South to guide fugitives to the Northern states and freedom. In 1850 the Fugitive Slave Act made it dangerous for runaways to remain in the North. Harriet made 11 trips to Canada leading more than 300 Underground Railway "passengers" to Canada. They moved only at night, sheltering in barns, chimneys and haystacks. She allowed no dropping out or turning back. She drew a pistol on one discouraged fugitive, saying, "Move or die." He and the rest of the group reached Canada in safety.