Abolitionism Road Trip
Illustrating abolitionism's effect on the U.S.
By: Keshav Krishnan and Sunnie Liu
Get Ready to Hit the Road!
1. South Carolina
3. West New York
Our third stop is at “the burned-over district,” the nickname for west New York, where the Second Great Awakening was especially influential. Although abolitionists had criticized slavery for contradicting the principles of republicanism and liberty since 1800, as the Second Great Awakening made Americans more aware of the moral issues surrounding slavery in the 1830s, abolitionists started criticizing slavery as a sin instead. In contrast, southern slaveholders began using religion to justify slavery, claiming that God approved it. As the issue of slavery grew to involve religion, the North and the South became more adamant in their anti- and pro-slavery stances respectively. In fact, the northerners even demanded immediate emancipation without compensation, which the southerners vehemently refused because they believed that it was their God-given right to own slaves. These uncompromising, opposing stances regarding slavery and religion showed the strong regional differences between the North and the South. Now, let’s go back down to the South!
4. Southampton County, Virginia
5. Boston, Massachusetts
6. Baltimore, Maryland
Our sixth stop is at Baltimore, one of the many towns in the Underground Railroad, an informal network of whites and free blacks that illegally assisted fugitive slaves to escape to the North. While southern slaveholders condemned this act as the northerners stealing their property, the northerners celebrated it as freeing the slaves from their oppressive southern masters. This contrast between the two regions’ viewpoints demonstrated their distinct regional identities. Moreover, although the North had always opposed slavery, the Underground Railroad was one of their first direct actions against slavery, whereas their usual pamphlets and campaigns merely raised awareness about abolitionism and sparked anti-slavery sentiment. This time, the South believed that the North was going too far by violating their property rights without compensation. Therefore, the Underground Railroad also intensified the tensions between the two regions, exacerbating their regional differences. Just one more stop in our itinerary!
Thanks and see you!
Get ready to hit the road:
Thanks and see you: