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How Many Abolitionists Were There?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: October 15, 2013 
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How many white men and women were actual abolitionist and physically helped slaves escape slavery? And what happened to them?


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Dear JB,

Given the fact that so many abolitionists operated south of the Mason Dixon Line, where being caught helping slave escape could result in arrest or death, great numbers of them were not prone to reveal their identities, even after the Civil War, which may make a census of their overall numbers all but impossible. If anyone might be able to give a ballpark figure, it might be The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum in Peterboro, New York.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
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