Abolition Movement

The Question That Divided Our Country


The national debate over slavery intensified during the 1840s as new territories were added to the United States. The nation was divided between free and slave states, free states being primarily in the north and slave in the south. Emancipating all slaves, and ending racial discrimination and segregation was the goal of abolitionists. Abolitionism was partly sparked by the religious fervor of the Second Great Awakening, and the ideals became common in Northern politics and churches around the 1830s.
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William LLoyd Garrison

Garrison was an abolitionist leader who lived in Boston when he began to publish his newspaper around 1831. He called it the Liberator, and it was supported by many African Americans. He advocated the immediate emancipation of all slaves, and gained a reputation of being the most radical of abolitionists. In his belief, the freed slaves could assimilate into American society since they were equal in all ways to white citizens. He saw the Constitution as being pro-slavery and argued that the Union should be dissolved, which caused a schism among the members of the abolitionist movement. Garrison had an approach to emancipation by nonviolence and passive resistance. The New England Anti-Slavery Society and American Anti-Slavery Society were both partially organized by him in the 1830s.
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Frederick Douglass

During the abolitionist movement, Douglass was a former slave. He had reached freedom in 1838 when he escaped to New York City. He wrote two autobiographies; My Bondage and My Freedom and The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. They were written as propaganda for antislavery and for personal revelation. He edited an influential black newspaper and was famous for his great persuasive power. He gave many speeches and spoke about his own beliefs on antislavery politics. Douglass spoke on a tour England, Ireland, and Scotland, and then published the North Star. It was a weekly created in Rochester, New York around 1848.
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Theodore Dwight Weld

Weld attended Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, where he became an abolitionist. In February of 1834, he and other students organized a series of eighteen debates to convince other students and teachers to support immediate abolition. These became known as Lane debates. He became a lecturer for the American Anti-Slavery Society, as he had helped found it. Weld wrote pamphlets such as The Bible Against Slavery and Slavery As It Is. They were largely anonymous, and later said to be some of the works to which Harriet Beecher Stowe based Uncle Tom's Cabin upon.



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