The Underground Railroad to Canada Essay by Research Group

The Underground Railroad to Canada
Examines the experiences of runaway black slaves who reached Canada, focusing on the decade leading up the the American Civil War.
# 26908 | 1,519 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2002 | US

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The escaped slaves who fled through the Underground Railroad to Canada hardly found the promised land they might have sought or expected, but their experience in Canada was invariably better than they had had as slaves in the South or as frightened and endangered fugitives in the North. The paper shows that, at its worst, Canada offered a more free and humane life than did the South under the horrors of slavery. Canada itself was never a major player in the slave trade, although slavery was legal in the nation until well into the 19th century. The paper shows that Canada outlawed slavery more than twenty-five years before it was declared illegal in the United States, and its outlawing did not cause the national division it caused in the United States. The paper discusses how the "promised land" of Canada was still marked by racism and resistance to the influx of slaves fleeing the United States. While some blacks returned to the United States after the Civil War and the end of slavery, many remained in Canada and both benefited from the better conditions in that country (even after the end of slavery in the United States) and contributed to the culture and society of their new nation, Canada. The paper includes an annotated bibliography.

From the Paper:

"There is no doubt that a great number of slaves fled to Canada in the hope of finding a better life, which they did indeed find. The greatest period of flight to Canada by slaves was the decade from 1850 to just before the start of the Civil War. For example, the black population of New Brunswick doubled to 1600 in the decade in question, and by 1861 blacks in Nova Scotia made up 2% of the population and Canada West's black population had quadrupled from a decade earlier (St. James 1). Clearly, this is a sign that life in Canada was indeed an improvement over life under slavery in the United States or even over life in the North as runaway slaves. If this had not been the case, and if life were not much better in Canada, news would have reached either the fugitive slaves or their helpers in the Underground Railroad in the United States and immigration to Canada would have ceased or been reduced significantly."

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The Underground Railroad to Canada (2003, May 20) Retrieved March 26, 2023, from

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"The Underground Railroad to Canada" 20 May 2003. Web. 26 March. 2023. <>