The Abolition Movement

The Abolition Reform Movement in 19th Century America

Goals and Tactics

The ultimate goal of the Abolition Movement was to abolish slavery from the United States. This movement took route in the North where many people were against the use of slaves. Their opponents in the South relied on African-American slaves to work in their agricultural fields. The South realized that if slavery was abolished their economy would be devastated. This led to the chasm of ideas between the North and the South. The South became the leading villains to the Abolitionists. Although the immediate goal of the Abolition Movement was the emancipation of all slaves, they had some other goals and they had ways to achieve these goals. One of these goals was to bring all slaves immediate freedom without compensation from their owners. They also wanted all African Americans to have equal rights as Whites. This goal proved to be the hardest. The Northerners believed that slavery should end, but they didn't think that the blacks were equal, or should have equal rights as them. They believed that the African Americans were inferior to them in every way. Abolitionists put all of their effort into changing the Northerners ideas to gain support. They started to achieve their goal with Church members. The banked on the immorality of

slavery and how it goes against the ways of Christ. Because this occurred during the Second Great Awakening, many people started to support these Abolitionists. With more supporters came more anti-Abolitionist. These people would riot against these Abolitionists. These riots forced some free slaves to head for Canada.

The Abolitionists or American Anti-Slavery Society knew they needed a new tactic in order to succeed in the emancipation of slaves. Abolitionists felt if they were to educate Blacks, then Whites would not feel that African Americans were entirely inferior to them. Unfortunately, once they began attempting this tactic, even more riots occurred. Northerners became frightened that educated Blacks would end up stealing their jobs and ruining their economy. Abolitionists found it extremely difficult to change the views of White Northerners. Although these initial attempts failed, they succeeded in bringing the Abolition movement to the forefront of American political debates.

Leaders of the Movement

William Lloyd Garrison

-December 10, 1805-May 24, 1879

-Editor of The Liberator, an Abolitionist newspaper

-Founder of the American Anti-Slavery Movement

-Wanted immediate emancipation of slaves

-Also a prominent figure for women's rights

Harriet Beecher Stowe

-June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896

-Wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin", a novel about life as an African-American slave

-Her novel was gained support in the North, and hatred in the South

-She was famous also for her support of the emancipation of slaves

Frederick Douglass

-February 1818–February 20, 1895

-Former slave

-Nation's most powerful Anti-Slavery speaker

-Wrote the book, "Narrative in the Life of Frederick Douglass"

-Leader of the Abolitionist Movement

Harriet Tubman

-1820-March 10, 1913

-Born into slavery, escaped and helped others escape

-Helped more than 350 slaves escape through the underground railroad

-Union spy during the Civil War

-Known as a "conductor" on the underground railroad

-African-American Abolitionist

John Brown

-May 9, 1800 – December 2, 1859

-Believed that the only way to overthrow slavery was through an armed uprising

-Started a slavery uprising in Harper's Valley, Virginia

-Killed 5 pro-slavery men in Kansas, became known as the Pottawatomie Massacre

-Known as America's first domestic terrorist

Abolitionism- From William Llord Garrisson to John Brown


-Virginia legislature launches an intense debate on abolishing slavery
-In response to Ohio's "Black Laws" restricting African American freedom, blacks migrate north to establish free black colonies in Canada, which becomes an important refuge for fugitive slaves
-The first National Negro Convention convenes in Philadelphia


-William Lloyd Garrison of Boston begins publishing The Liberator, the most famous anti-slavery newspaper


-American Antislavery Society, led by William Lloyd Garrison, is organized in Philadelphia. They campaign for African-American rights for the next 3 decades

-Abolitionists launch a campaign flooding Congress with antislavery petitions.


-Philadelphia blacks, under the leadership of well-to-do Robert Purvis, organize the Vigilance Committee to aid and assist fugitive slaves

-Founding of the Institute for Colored Youth, which later became Cheyney University, one of the earliest historically black colleges in the United States


-Abolitionists form the Liberty Party to promote political action against slavery


-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is published in Boston, launching the public career of the most notable black American spokesman of the 19th Century.


-Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery. She becomes a major conductor on the Underground Railroad, as well as an advocate for Women's Rights


-The Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision declares blacks, free or slave, have no citizenship rights


-The Civil War erupts as Lincoln is elected to President, and puts into effect the Emancipation Proclamation banning slavery