4.4 The Underground Railroad

Ask: Where was slavery practiced in the United States in 1850?

Step 1: Go to the ArcGIS Online map, The Underground Railroad, and explore the map.

Step 2: With the Details button underlined, click the button Show Legend.

  • Which states allowed slavery? Which states did not?
  • Which areas were the most enslaved?
  • What factors influenced these areas being mostly enslaved?

Acquire: Where did the big river meet the little river?

Step 3: Click the button, Show Contents of Map.

Step 4: Click the button, Bookmarks. Select Underground Railroad.

Step 5: Turn on the layer, Map Notes. Open and read the Map Note located in Northern Michigan.

  • Why did rivers make good escape routes?
  • Which rivers do you think are the big river and little river?

Step 6: Filter the US Rivers layer so that FOLLOW is set to YES. The filter button is only available for certain map layers. With the Details button underlined, hover over a layer name. Click the Filter button. Set the Filter parameters.

  • Why was this intersection a key destination?

Step 7: Remove the filter.

Explore: Where were the Underground Railroad stations located?

Step 8: Turn on the Notable Underground Railroad Stations layer.

  • What patterns do you notice about the stations’ locations?
  • Which stations were located farthest north?

Step 9: Click the two purple stations.

  • What types of stations were these, and what does this reveal about the Underground Railroad?

Analyze: How did runaway slaves travel to freedom?

Step 10: Turn on the layer, Routes.

  • What patterns do you notice about these networks?

Step 11: Turn off the layer, Stations.

Step 12: Turn on the layer, Windsor.

Step 13: Use the Measure tool to answer the questions button.

  • Most runaway slaves came from border states. Why?
  • How far is the Ohio River from Windsor?
  • How far is the Ohio River from the mouth of the Mississippi River?
  • How far is Windsor from the mouth of the Mississippi River?
  • Besides distance, what other factors made escaping the Deep South difficult?

Act: Why was the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 passed?

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 made it a crime in the United States to assist runaway slaves.

  • How did the Underground Railroad contribute to Southern lawmakers calling for a stricter fugitive slave law?
  • What impact did the stricter Fugitive Slave Act have on the Underground Railroad?

License

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Human Geography Lab Manual by R. Adam Dastrup, MA, GISP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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