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The Abolitionist Movement

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Joseph Cottrell

on 5 February 2014

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Transcript of The Abolitionist Movement

The Abolitionist Movement
Inspiration for Abolitionism
1. First stirrings took place during the Revolution - "All men are created equal". Quakers were at the forefront of the movement.
2. The religious spirit of the Second Great Awakening inflamed the hearts of many against the "sin" of slavery.
3. Inspiration found when Great Britain freed its West Indies slaves in 1833.
Theories of Abolitionism
1. Gradualism
2. Colonization
3. Radical Abolitionism
Gradualism - the belief that slavery had to be ended gradually. Allow country to slowly adjust to emancipation, compensate slaveholders (due process) and give the southern economy time to adjust.
1. End international slave trade (1807).
2. Phase out slavery in the North and Upper South.
3. End slavery in the Lower South.
4. Compensate slaveholders for their loss.
Colonization - early abolitionist societies believed that ending slavery would not mean an end to racism.
Many believed that the answer lay in sending freed slaves back to their ancestral homelands in Africa.

In 1816, antislavery reformers founded the
American Colonization Society
that was supported by many prominent Americans (Madison, Monroe, Clay, Webster, Marshall)
By 1821, the society had acquired land in West Africa, and the following year, African Americans boarded ships chartered to take them to Africa. They established a colony that later became the nation of
, which became an independent republic in 1847 and named its capital
, after President Monroe.
Why was colonization not a realistic solution to the problems of slavery and racism?
Radical Abolitionism
- based on the premise that enslaved African Americans should be
, that is, free immediately without gradual measures or compensation to slaveholders.
David Walker
: free African American from North Carolina who published
Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World. Walker advocated
and rebellion as the only way to end slavery.
William Lloyd Garrison: a stern, outspoken and uncompromising opponent of slavery, Garrison published the Liberator, a militant anti-slavery newspaper in Boston beginning in 1831
Antislavery Society founded by Garrison and others in 1833
Frederick Douglass
: African American abolitionist, escaped from slavery in 1833, lectured widely for the antislavery cause, published his autobiography
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
, and looked to the Constitution as the key to ending slavery. Often referred to as the "Father of the Civil Rights Movement".
Sojourner Truth
: Gained her freedom in 1827 when New York freed all remaining enslaved persons in the state. Lacking any formal education, her antislavery speeches drew huge crowds
The Southern Response to the abolitionists

The South launched a defense of slavery as a positive good
1. Claimed slavery was supported by the Bible
2. Slavery converted pagan Africans to good Christians
3. a paternal, familial relationship existed between master and slave
4. slaves had it much better than Northern "wage-slaves"

Southern tactics
1. outlaw abolitionist literature
2. burn abolitionist propaganda
3. 1836 - "Gag Resolution" -Congressional resolution that required any antislavery appeals to be tabled without debate
Abolitionist impact in the North
1. Radical abolitionists often unpopular in the North/some beaten and murdered
2. Greater concern over preserving Union than freeing slaves.
3. Northern business had a heavy stake in continued Southern prosperity (cotton)
4. By the 1850's, most Americans tolerant of slavery, but opposed extending it to the Western Territories (e.g. Lincoln)
Elijah Lovejoy: Murdered by a
proslavery mob while defending
his printing press in Alton, Illinois
Full transcript