What Impact Did Harriet Tubman Have on American History?

Harriet Tubman was a remarkable woman who played a crucial role in American history. Born into slavery in Maryland, she escaped to freedom and then returned to the South multiple times, risking her life to help other slaves escape to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Her bravery and determination have rightfully earned her a place in American history as a hero and an icon of the abolitionist movement.

Early Life

Harriet was born into slavery in Maryland around 1822. She endured a difficult childhood, working long hours in the fields and suffering brutal beatings at the hands of her masters. Despite these challenges, Harriet remained fiercely determined to gain her freedom.

Escape to Freedom

In 1849, Harriet finally made her escape from slavery. She fled north to Philadelphia, where she found work as a seamstress and began helping other slaves escape via the Underground Railroad. Over the years, she made numerous trips back to the South, risking her own safety each time.

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad was not an actual railroad but rather a network of secret routes and safe houses used by slaves to escape to freedom in the North or Canada. Harriet played an integral role in this network, using her knowledge of the terrain and her courage to guide hundreds of people to safety.

Abolitionist Activism

In addition to her work with the Underground Railroad, Harriet was also active in the abolitionist movement more broadly. She gave speeches about her experiences as a slave and worked with other activists such as Frederick Douglass.

Civil War Service

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Harriet saw an opportunity to continue fighting for freedom. She worked as a nurse, cook, and spy for Union troops throughout the war.

The Combahee River Raid

One of Harriet’s most notable accomplishments during the war was the Combahee River Raid. In 1863, she led a group of Union soldiers on a raid up the river, freeing over 700 slaves and destroying Confederate property.


Harriet Tubman’s impact on American history cannot be overstated. Her bravery and determination inspired countless others to fight for freedom and equality. She is remembered as a hero of the abolitionist movement and an icon of American history.

  • Bravery: Harriet risked her life multiple times to help others escape slavery.
  • Determination: Despite numerous obstacles, Harriet never gave up on her quest for freedom.
  • Activism: Harriet was active in both the Underground Railroad and the broader abolitionist movement.
  • Civil War Service: She served as a nurse, cook, and spy for Union troops during the Civil War.


In conclusion, Harriet Tubman was an extraordinary woman who left an indelible mark on American history. Her bravery, determination, and activism continue to inspire people today. She is a true American hero who deserves to be remembered and celebrated for generations to come.