Necessary Courage: Iowa's Underground Railroad in the Struggle against Slavery

By Kent, Holly M. | Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Summer 2015 | Go to article overview

Necessary Courage: Iowa's Underground Railroad in the Struggle against Slavery


Kent, Holly M., Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society


Necessary Courage: Iowa's Underground Railroad in the Struggle against Slavery. By Lowell J. Soike. (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2013. Pp. 292, notes, index. Paper, $24.95.)

Historians of slavery face particularly acute challenges in doing their work, as their task is not just to grapple with a fundamentally unknowable past, but, specifically, to illuminate some small facet of the "peculiar institution," including the experiences of those who lived and died within it and spent their lives resisting and upholding it. In Necessary Courage, Lowell J. Soike dives into these difficult waters, producing an eloquent, engaging monograph focused on enslaved people fighting their way to freedom and the free people who were their allies and antagonists in pre-Civil War Iowa. By so doing, he has made a valuable contribution to existing historical scholarship about slavery and abolition in the antebellum Midwest.

Soike served as director of the Freedom Trail Project dedicated to preserving the history of Iowa's Underground Railroad. His involvement in this project serves him well in Necessary Courage, where he constructs a clear, compelling narrative about how the Underground Railroad operated in Iowa and how the constant battles over the presence of self-emancipated people moving through the state shaped Iowa's political climate, religious communities, and involvement in broader national debates about slavery and freedom.

Necessary Courage defies easy narratives about the Underground Railroad, which still persist in popular understandings of the Railroad's impact. The Railroad did not directly or definitively cause the Civil War or deal the final, fatal blow to slavery nor was its existence one that was universally supported by all Iowans. But the fact that Iowa was a key border state through which many enslaved people passed through in claiming their freedom meant that Iowans were constantly confronting the issue of slavery in a direct, embodied, personal way. Iowa's status as a vital part of the Railroad (which Necessary Courage vividly demonstrates that it was) ensured that the slave question remained a pressing topic of discussion in Iowa churches, newspapers, and political parties.

Necessary Courage will be of interest to historians in a wide variety of concentrations. By taking Iowa (still unfortunately understudied in histories of the antebellum era) as his focus, Soike is able to provide useful insights into how Iowa's early emigrants shaped the character of the state. These early white migrants brought their evangelical ethos with them to the Midwest and, by so doing, ensured that future debates about slavery would inevitably also become moral discussions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Necessary Courage: Iowa's Underground Railroad in the Struggle against Slavery
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.