Standard 12 History Project
The First Abolitionist Society
The first abolitionist society was founded in 1775 in Pennsylvania. The society changed its name to the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage in 1784. In 1830, William Lloyd Garrison started an abolitionist paper, The Liberator. Frederick Douglass wrote about slavery after experiencing it. Sojourner Truth devoted her life to Methodism and the abolition of slavery. The Grimke sisters were one of the first abolitionists to write about the cause of female equality. Henry David Thoreau wrote an essay about a speech he gave on anti-slavery. Charles Sumner was the leader of anti-slavery forces in Massachusetts.
Northwest Ordinance of 1787
The ordinance of 1787 was the first national limitation of the expansion of slavery. They were going to prohibit slavery in 1800 but the ordinance of 1787 made it effective immediately.
The Underground Railroad
The desire for freedom drove them to escape on the Underground Railroad. Word got around about people escaping and it became more and more common. Harriet Tubman helped free many slaves and even went back to help more. If she had been caught, she would have been severely punished. Harriet Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin illustrated the effect on families. Stowe helped people empathize with enslaved characters. It pulled more people into anti-slavery.