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On the Edge of FreedomThe Fugitive Slave Issue in South Central Pennsylvania, 1820–1870$
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David G. Smith

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823240326

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823240326.001.0001

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(p.212) (p.213) Conclusion
On the Edge of Freedom

David G. Smith

Fordham University Press

This brief epilogue examines the image of the fugitive slave and the utility of the fugitive slave issue. Usually depicted as a solitary traveler with a bundle, like Bunyan's pilgrim, even though many escapes in this area were of multiple fugitives. This image was less threatening than immediate emancipation and potential large scale migrations of African Americans before or during the war, when it was part of the contrabands issue. The fugitive slave issue gave border antislavery activists a practical way to resist slavery without necessarily having to take a stand on immediate abolition or emancipation. So it was a useful concept, but one that did not necessarily automatically carry with it ideas of full equality and equal rights.

Keywords:   fugitive slave, contrabands, immediate abolition, equal rights

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