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The Abolitionist Movement: Radical vs. Gradual
Transcript of The Abolitionist Movement: Radical vs. Gradual
Radical Abolitionism vs. Gradual Abolitionism
(United States: 1780's-1860's)
Which method of abolishing slavery was most beneficial for America?
Which method of abolishing slavery was most beneficial for African-Americans?
Radical Abolition of Slavery
Definition: "Radical" abolitionism is the belief that all forms of slavery should be stopped immediately, with full emancipation granted to slaves.
Definition: "Gradual Emancipation" was the form of an anti-slavery movement that allowed for the step-by-step liberation of African-American slaves.
Tactics of Radical Abolition/Garrisonians:
The Rise of "Radicalism"
Early Attempts in America:
The first United States attempt to abolish slavery came in April of 1688 when Quakers of Germantown, Pennsylvania sent a document to the governing bodies of their Quaker Church, the “Society of Friends”.
“An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery” was passed by the Pennsylvania legislature on March 1st, 1780. This was the first attempt by a Northern "State" to abolish slavery (Vermont was a Republic).
The first American abolition society is generally acknowledged as “The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage”, formed in 1775 in Philadelphia, primarily by Quakers. After suspending activity during the Revolutionary War, it was reorganized with Benjamin Franklin as its first president.
One of the first published articles advocating the emancipation of African-American slaves was written by Thomas Paine and titled “African Slavery in America”. It was published March 8, 1775 in the “Postscript to the Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser”, aka “The Pennsylvania Magazine”.
Pennsylvania's "Gradual" abolition became a model for freeing slaves in the Northern States.
The Commonwealth of Vermont (Vermont Republic, passed the Constitution of Vermont in 1777. The constitution was the first in what is now the territory of the United States to prohibit slavery.
1783: New Hampshire
1784: Rhode Island
1799: New York State
1804: New Jersey
Slavery, Religion and The Second Great Awakening
The Second Great Awakening was a religious revival based on the idea of showing faith to God by doing good things within society and acting with moral correctness.
The Bible: Abolitionists Ammunition
The Great Awakening of the mid-1700s had caused an increase in the number of Protestant congregations in America. The new philosophy of salvation by faith in God and by the public confession of sincere repentance for sins, had flown in the face of the Puritan concept of salvation by predestination alone. Large numbers of Americans embraced the idea that they could play a role in their own salvation.
The Second Great Awakening began in upstate New York around the 1790s and continued through the 1830s. Religious revival meetings conducted by fiery evangelical preachers sometimes drew as many as 20,000 people. Like the first Great Awakening, the Second Great Awakening caused a surge in church membership among Protestants, especially Methodists and Baptists. The movement appealed strongly to women and to African Americans, even giving rise to a black Methodist denomination known as the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.
Utopian communities based on religion and philosophy sprang up through- out the United States between 1800 and 1850. People came together with a vision of an ideal society in which everyone would contribute to the good of the whole group. Work, ownership of property, and family life would all be shared.
Charles Grandison Finney (RIGHT) was a leader in the Second Great Awakening. He has been called The Father of Modern Revivalism.
"Made in God's Image":
Bible passages such as Genesis 1: 26-27 (Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”) and Acts 17: 26 (‘…he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth’) were used to show that all people were made in God’s image and all came from one man, Adam.
Abolitionists taught that as liberty was a gift from God it was therefore wrong to take someone else’s liberty from them by force or for someone to sell their liberty to someone else. The Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt was used to highlight God’s opposition to enforced slavery. They also quoted verses such as Proverbs 14: 31 (‘Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker’) and Job 30: 25 (‘Did not I weep for him whose day was hard to show God’s compassion for the poor’), or Jesus’ words in Luke: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…to preach deliverance to the captives, to release the prisoners.’
"Love Thy Neighbor":
Abolitionists repeatedly quoted the Golden Rule in Matt 7 v12 (‘Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.’)
The abolitionists appealed to people’s consciences by warning them of God’s judgement and wrath against sin, especially God’s anger at the exploitation of the poor.
Notable American Abolitionists
William Lloyd Garrison
(December 10, 1805 – May 24, 1879) was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, which he founded in 1831 and published in Massachusetts until slavery was abolished by Constitutional amendment after the
American Civil War. He was one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society. He promoted "immediate emancipation" of slaves in the United States.
(May 9, 1800 – December 2, 1859) was a white American abolitionist who believed armed insurrection was the only way to overthrow the institution of slavery in the United States. Brown's attempt in 1859 to start a liberation movement among enslaved African Americans in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, electrified the nation.
(born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, c. February 1818 – February 20, 1895) was an African-American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing. He stood as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves did
not have the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.
Lydia Maria Francis Child
(February 11, 1802 – October 20, 1880) was an American abolitionist, women's rights activist, opponent of American expansionism, Indian rights activist, novelist, and journalist and Unitarian. Lydia Child and her husband began to identify themselves with the anti-slavery cause in 1831 through the personal influence and writings of
William Lloyd Garrison. Child was a women's rights activist, but did not believe significant progress for women could be made until after the abolition of slavery.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
(June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896) was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) was a depiction of life for African Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American
North, while provoking widespread anger in the South. She wrote more than 20 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters.
(November 29, 1811—February 2, 1884) was an American abolitionist, advocate for Native Americans, orator and lawyer. After being converted to the abolitionist cause by Garrison in 1836, Phillips stopped practicing law in order to dedicate himself to the movement. So highly regarded were his oratorical abilities that he was known as "abolition's Golden Trumpet".
(c. 1797 – November 26, 1883) was the self-given name, from 1843 onward, of Isabella Baumfree, an African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man.
(c. 1820 – March 10, 1913) was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the American Civil War. Born into slavery, Tubman made more than nineteen missions to rescue more than 300 slaves, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
The primary tool of immediate abolitionist was the use to language to persuade. Immediate abolitionist did this by relying heavily on the rhetoric of polarization. The rhetoric of polarization, evident in Garrison’s vehement criticism of slavery supporters, is meant to divide between proslavery and antislavery so as to unite those in opposition to slavery. Garrison identifies complacent northerners, slave-holders, and those who uphold the constitution as implicated in the sin of slavery. His purpose here is to scapegoat and identify the “devils,” or enemies. Those who are the enemy are linked to the problem, in this case allow the enslavement of humans contrary to the will of God. In turn he attributes the institution of slavery and those who maintain it as guilty in the sin of slavery.
William Lloyd Garrison
incorporates his themes of anti-constitutionalism, the supremacy of God’s law and succession from the South in his appeal to his fellow New Englanders to join him in his calls for immediate abolitionism. Rejecting the gradualist approach of his contemporaries, the Garrisonians adopted the rhetoric of William Lloyd Garrison. The founder of the anti-slavery paper The Liberator, Garrison’s more radical stance against anti-slavery culminated into his founding of the American Anti-Slavery Society.
A radical shift in the abolition movement came in the 1830s, led by William Lloyd Garrison, who demanded "immediate emancipation, gradually achieved". That is, he demanded that slave-owners repent immediately, and set up a system of emancipation.
Illinois Bonus Information
Wood engraving of proslavery riot in Alton, Illinois on November 7, 1837, which resulted in the murder of Elijah P. Lovejoy.
Elijah Parish Lovejoy
(November 9, 1802 – November 7, 1837) was an American Presbyterian minister, journalist, newspaper editor and abolitionist. He was murdered by pro-slavery mob in Alton, Illinois, during their attack on his warehouse to destroy his press and abolitionist materials.
Northeast Chicago - Underground Railroad
A map showing locations within northeast Illinois that have assisted with the Underground Railroad.
Chicago Area Connections with the Abolitionist Movement
What Chicago area suburb was founded by abolitionists?
History tells us
was settled by abolitionists. Wheaton’s founding fathers, Warren and Jesse Wheaton and Erastus Gary migrated from Pomfret, Connecticut and were members of the Wesleyan Methodist Church which was known for its anti-slavery sentiment. In 1853 these men secured the establishment of the Illinois Institute, a school following their abolition principle.
"Fugitives in the College Chapel".
It is very clear that the Illinois Institute and those involved with Wheaton College were strong abolitionists and had been involved in the Underground Railroad at various places and times.
Wheaton College Connection
(1811–1892) was a pastor, educator, social reformer, abolitionist and the first president of Wheaton College, which was founded in 1860.Blanchard had previously been president of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and was a staunch abolitionist with ties to Oberlin College. Blanchard used the school as a platform for his abolitionist ideas and anti-Masonic advocacy, as well as for his national presidential campaign in 1884 on the Anti-Masonic Party ticket. He saw Wheaton College "as an 'arsenal' and 'drill camp' for the hosts of righteousness in the moral warfare of the world . . . a means of training social activists . . . ." In 1861, Jonathan Blanchard organized College Church in Wheaton. The church first met on the campus of Wheaton College as "The First Church of Christ in Wheaton." Blanchard wanted the church to be known for its opposition to slavery, secret societies, and alcohol use.
FUNNY THING IS... Wikipedia describes the founding of Wheaton as "founded by David Keifer and his magical leprechaun. The two individuals were running a marathon one day when they happened upon an abandoned city that had been previously inhabited by Space Pirates. Keifer and company then proceeded to make major renovations and are recognized as the city's founders."
Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858
Steven A. Douglas
The Lincoln–Douglas Debates of 1858 were a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate for the Senate in Illinois, and Senator Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Party candidate. At the time, U.S. senators were elected by state legislatures; thus Lincoln and Douglas were trying for their respective parties to win control of the Illinois legislature. The debates previewed the issues that Lincoln would face in the aftermath of his victory in the 1860 presidential election. The main issue discussed in all seven debates was slavery.
After losing the election for Senator in Illinois, Lincoln edited the texts of all the debates and had them published in a book. The widespread coverage of the original debates and the subsequent popularity of the book led eventually to Lincoln's nomination for President of the United States by the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago.
The Question of Slavery
The Civil War and the Abolition of Slavery
1860 Presidential Election and the Civil War:
Lincoln, the Republican, won with a plurality of popular votes and a majority of electoral votes. Lincoln, however, did not appear on the ballots of ten southern states: thus his election necessarily split the nation along sectional lines. Many slave owners in the South feared that the real intent of the Republicans was the abolition of slavery in states where it already existed, and that the sudden emancipation of four million slaves would be problematic for the slave owners and for the economy that drew its greatest profits from the labor of people who were not paid.
The South also argued that banning slavery in new states would upset what they saw as a delicate balance of free states and slave states. They feared that ending this balance could lead to the domination of the industrial Norths. This led the South to secede from the Union, which began the Civil War.
An Immediate End to Slavery:
The war ended in April 1865 and following that surrender, the Emancipation Proclamation was enforced throughout remaining regions of the South that had not yet freed the slaves. Slavery continued for a couple of months in some locations. Federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, to enforce the emancipation, and that day is now celebrated as Juneteenth in several states.
The thirteenth amendment, abolishing slavery, was passed by the Senate in April 1864, and by the House of Representatives in January 1865. The amendment did not take effect until it was ratified by three fourths of the states, which occurred on December 6, 1865, when Georgia ratified it. On that date, all remaining slaves became officially free.
U.S. Slave Population in 1860
(above) A graphical representation of the secession of the Southern States, leading to the American Civil War.
Southern States Secession
Concerning the abolitionist movement in the United States (1780's-1860's), which method was best for the America, as well as African-Americans? Good/Bad? Right/Wrong?
The Economics of Slavery in America
Complicity of White America
Cotton: A Driving Force
Questions to Ponder...
From a moral perspective, how could one justify the use of slavery?
How would the women's rights movement been affected by the continuation of slavery?
Could the United States have competed economically if slavery was banned in 1776 within the original Constitution?
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The Cost of Slavery
in 2011 Dollars
Using the real price is not the correct index to use for measuring the value of a slave's labor services in today's prices. It does, however, give an idea of what the cost of purchasing a slave was in 2011 dollars. Thus, just before the start of the Civil War, the average real price of a slave in the United States was $20,000 in current dollars.
Most New Yorkers did not care that the cotton was produced by slaves because for them it became sanitized once it left the plantation. New Yorkers even dominated a booming slave trade in the 1850s. Although the importation of slaves into the United States had been prohibited in 1808, the temptation of the astronomical profits of the international slave trade was too strong for many New Yorkers. New York investors financed New York-based slave ships that sailed to West Africa to pick up African captives that were then sold in Cuba and Brazil.
Eli Whitney (who invented the Cotton Gin) is given credit for unleashing the explosion of American cotton production which was, in turn, propelled by the seemingly insatiable appetite for cotton from the British cotton textile mills. A quick glance at the numbers shows what happened. American cotton production soared from 156,000 bales in 1800 to more than 4,000,000 bales in 1860 (a bale is a compressed bundle of cotton weighing between 400 and 500 pounds). This astonishing increase in supply did not cause a long-term decrease in the price of cotton. The cotton boom, however, was the main cause of the increased demand for slaves – the number of slaves in America grew from 700,000 in 1790 to 4,000,000 in 1860. A materialistic America was well aware of the fact that the price of a slave generally correlated to the price of cotton. Thus, the cotton economy controlled the destiny of African slaves.
Was the United States economy better off before or after slavery?
Could the U.S. have made it to where it is today without slavery pushing the Industrial Revolution?
What would immediate abolition mean for the United States?
Would a gradual ending to slavery mean a better life for freed slaves?
If slavery was not abolished immediately after the Civil War, what time period would most likely have fought hardest for abolition?
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