In the years leading up to the Civil war, many anti-slavery abolitionists spoke out on their feelings against slavery. New Christian views, and new ideas about human rights are what prompted this anti-slavery movement. Abolitionist literature began to appear around 1820. Abolitionist literature included newspapers, sermons, speeches and memoirs of slaves. Harriet Beecher Stowe and Frederick Douglass were two abolitionist writers. They were similar in some ways and different in others (“Abolition”).
Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in Connecticut in 1811 as the daughter of Reverend Lyman Beecher who was active in the anti-slavery movement. She wrote articles for the newspaper as means to support her family. Harriet saw the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 (allowed escaped slaves to be re-enslaved) to be immoral. She was especially upset about how slavery split families apart and she sympathized with slave mothers who lost their children in slavery, because she had lost half of her children. Harriet published Uncle Tom’s Cabin in increments in an anti-slavery paper. Later it was published as a complete volume. This book depicted the life of a slave named Tom who was beaten to death by his cruel master. She wrote this book to show people the reality of slavery and how horrible it was. This book gained anti-slavery sympathy in the North and angered slave owners in the South. President Lincoln referred to her as, “the little women who wrote the book that made this great war” (Kennedy, p. 276).
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in Maryland in 1818. He worked on a plantation, then as a house servant. The woman of the house where he served went against the law to teach Frederick how to read. Years later, in 1841, he was invited to speak at an anti-slavery conference to talk about his experiences as a slave. He had great speaking skills and became an agent for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. He wrote his autobiography the Life and Times of Frederick...
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