This chapter considers different views about the workings and political impact of the Underground Railroad (UGRR). Before the passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, organizations such as the Aiding and Abetting Society had been sending whites and blacks into the South disguised as peddlers, colporteurs, and teachers to encourage slaves to escape. The “unnamed white man” was not just a figment of the imagination of those who felt themselves hemmed in and under siege; experience suggested he was real.
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