The Abolitionist Movement

Front Cover
Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006 - History - 210 pages


The abolitionists of the 1830s-1850s risked physical harm and social alienation as a result of their refusal to ignore what they considered a national sin, contrary to the ideals upon which America was founded. Derived from the moral accountability called for by the Great Awakening and the Quaker religion, the abolitionist movement demanded not just the gradual dismantling of the system or a mandated political end to slavery, but an end to prejudice in the hearts of the American people. Primary documents, illustrations and biographical sketches of notable figures illuminate the conflicted struggle to end slavery in America.

Some called them fanatics; others called them liberators and saints. Immeasurable though their ultimate impact may have been, the abolitionists of the 1830s-1850s risked physical harm and social alienation as a result of their refusal to ignore what they considered a national sin, contrary to the ideals upon which America was founded. Derived from the moral accountability called for by the Great Awakening and the Quaker religion, the abolitionist movement demanded not just the gradual dismantling of the system or a mandated political end to slavery, but an end to prejudice in the hearts of the American people. Claudine Farrell's concluding essay draws parallels between the abolitionists' struggles and the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-1970s, demonstrating the significant amount of ground being gained in a still-unfinished war.

Five narrative chapters explore the abolitionist movement's religious beginnings, the conflict between moral justice and union preservation, and the revolts, divisions and conflicts leading up to the Civil War. Biographical portraits of such notable figures as Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and the Grimke sisters supplement the discussion, and selections from some of the most influential documents in American history--including the Emancipation Proclamation, the US Constitution, and The Writings of Thomas Jefferson--provide actual historical evidence of the events. Twelve illustrations, a chronology, index and extensive annotated bibliography make this an ideal starting point for students looking to understand the battle for and against slavery in America.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Selected pages

Contents

Historical Overview
1
In Matters of Right and Equity From Quakers to Revolution
7
Justice Is in One Scale and SelfPreservation in the Other Slavery and AntiSlavery in the New Nation
23
Though the Heavens Should Fall Abolitionism Takes Shape The 1830s
41
Contrary to the Laws of God and the Rights of Man Politics versus Spirituality The 1840s
69
The Storm the Whirlwind and the Earthquake From Politics and Violence to Freedom The 1850s1860s
87
Concluding Interpretive Essay
111
Personalities of the Abolitionist Movement
117
Primary Documents of Abolitionism
137
Annotated Bibliography
171
Index
195
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 26 - There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted : Provided always, That any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed, and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as aforesaid.
Page 142 - They secrete less by the kidneys, and more by the glands of the skin, which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odor.
Page 142 - Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions, which will probably never...
Page 142 - They are more ardent after their female: but love seems with them to be more an eager desire, than a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation.
Page 36 - But this momentous question, like a fire-bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the moment. But this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated ; and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper.
Page 157 - Cornwallis, then ? Forgets she how the Bay State, in answer to the call Of her old House of Burgesses, spoke out from Faneuil Hall ? When, echoing back her Henry's cry, came pulsing on each breath Of Northern winds, the thrilling sounds of " LIBERTY OR DEATH ! " What asks the Old Dominion ? If now her sons have proved False to their fathers...
Page 152 - We fully and unanimously recognize the sovereignty of each State, to legislate exclusively on the subject of the slavery which is tolerated within its limits. We concede that Congress, under the present national compact, has no right to interfere with any of the slave States, in relation to this momentous subject.
Page 142 - Add to these, flowing hair, a more elegant symmetry of form, their own judgment in favor of the whites, declared by their preference of them, as uniformly as is the preference of the Oranootan for the black woman over those of his own species.
Page 142 - Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the state, and thus save the expense of supplying, by importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave? Deep-rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained...
Page 152 - But we maintain that Congress has a right, and is solemnly bound, to suppress the domestic slave trade between the several States, and to abolish slavery in those portions of our territory which the Constitution h'is placed under its exclusive jurisdiction.

About the author (2006)

CLAUDINE L. FERRELL is Associate Professor, History and American Studies, at Mary Washington College, and is the author of Reconstruction (Greenwood, 2003).

Bibliographic information