The Underground Railroad Vocabulary Guide

  • Grades: 3–5

A list of words and terms, and their meanings, that appear frequently in reading material about the Underground Railroad and the Civil War.

Abolish: to do away with something.

Abolitionist: people who wanted to end slavery in the United States.

Border States: slave states that did not secede from the United States.

Citizen: a native or naturalized person who owes loyalty or allegiance to a government and is entitled to its protections.

Crops: a plant (such as cotton or tobacco) that is grown and can be harvested for profit.

Discrimination: to make a difference in treatment or favor based on something other than individual merit.

Economy: the system by which goods and services are produced, bought, and sold in a region.

Fine: a penalty (usually money) imposed on someone as a punishment.

Freedom: the power to do what you want to and not be controlled by another.

Fugitive: a person running away to avoid being captured.

Plantation: a large area of land where crops are grown and usually with a large, elaborate house on it where the plantation owners and their families live.

Prohibit: to forbid something.

Property: something that is owned by a person such as land or personal belongings.

Slave: a person without freedom who is owned by another and is made to work for free.

Slave trade:
buying and selling of African AMerican people for profit.