By the end of this section, friend will:Explain how local differences pertained to slavery brought about tension in the year leading as much as the polite War

Suggested Sequencing

Use this Narrative alongside the Harriet Tubman and the Underground rail Narrative to check out the roles women play in the abolitionist movement.

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In December 1862, the writer Harriet Beecher Stowe went to the White house at a an essential moment. President Abraham Lincoln had actually issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation ago in September after ~ the battle of Antietam, stating he would use his war powers as president to cost-free the enslaved men and women in many Union-occupied areas of the Confederate says on January 1, 1863. Stowe had actually an audience v the president to make certain he preserved that promise. He supposedly asked, “Is this the small woman that made this good war?” also though it is most likely apocryphal, the question consists of a great deal of truth around the affect of this important writer and also her seminal novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Harriet Beecher was the daughter the the famous new England clergyman and also social reformer Lyman Beecher and his pious wife, Roxana. She had plenty of siblings and also read voraciously as a child, including classics that fired she imagination. Later, she teach at the Hartford female Seminary until the family members moved come Cincinnati, whereby Lyman ended up being president of roadway Theological Seminary.

Raised in a spiritual household, Harriet embraced the Puritan spiritual tradition and outlook of new England. However, she and also her family started to question the Calvinist doctrinal orthodoxy the predestination in favor of a much more personal theology. Resulting age throughout the Second an excellent Awakening, she witnessed the emotionally preaching that ministers from brand-new denominations and also their autonomous appeal to the marginalized. She began to think in a benevolent God, the value of an excellent works, a communal religion, and even spiritualist visions the angels and saints.

Beecher married Calvin Stowe, a professor at roadway Seminary, in 1836 and also supplemented his meager salary by writing short stories and also essays. Females of this time generally functioned inside the home and also were minimal from politics and also employment by the “cult the domesticity,” yet some gotten in public life as writers and also moral reformers for reasons such together abolitionism, temperance, and antiprostitution. Stowe and her husband were involved in those three reform movements, and also those movements affected her writing.


Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a literature phenomenon and also sold more than 300,000 duplicates in the United states alone in its very first year, and more than a million in an excellent Britain. This is the title page of the very first edition.

Her publication stirred the national conflict as Stowe intended. Meanwhile, resistance to slavery swept with the north, where many started to oppose the Fugitive slave Act and also slavery generally, as shown by the group of 50,000 that gathered to oppose servant catchers trying to seize the escaped enslaved man Anthony Burns in Boston 2 years later. Countless northern authors tried to imitate Stowe’s work and penned novels attacking slavery, back with much less success. However, many in the North additionally continued to assistance slavery, and even countless abolitionists still organized racist views of african Americans.

White southerners to be outraged by Uncle Tom’s Cabin and feared it might reason slave rebellions. The book was outlawed in the South, and editors spilled much ink composing rebuttals, mostly arguing that enslaved persons were content, treated well by paternalistic masters, and better off than the industrial “wage slaves” in northern factories. George Fitzhugh wrote probably the most far-ranging proslavery book, Sociology for the South, or, The fail of free Society, rooted in sociology and also economics. It protected slavery and argued that the Founders to be wrong about human equality being based on natural rights, due to the fact that blacks were inferior. Follow to Fitzhugh, slavery permitted for a department of labor and all that this labor produced, follow to the abilities and also needs the black and also white plantation residents. “Slavery,” he wrote, “is a form, and the very best form, that socialism.”

Uncle Tom’s Cabin and its writer did not reason the civil War, however the publication was certainly critical part of the nationwide conversation around slavery and also its expansion throughout the 1850s. 2 years after ~ its publication, conference passed councilor Stephen Douglas’s controversial Kansas-Nebraska bill, which mandated well-known sovereignty over the slavery inquiry in brand-new states and led to an outbreak of violence and also murder recognized as “Bleeding Kansas.” In 1856, southerner call Brooks beat abolitionist Charles Sumner senseless top top the floor the the Senate. A year later, the supreme Court authorize its well known Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, suggesting that blacks to be not and could no be U.S. Citizens and also that the Missouri damage was unconstitutional. In 1858, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas battled over the worries rhetorically in your famous campaign debates because that the Senate. In 1859, radical abolitionist john Brown led a violent however abortive raid ~ above the commonwealth arsenal at Harpers Ferry to try to start a enormous slave rebellion. The election of Lincoln in 1860 caused secession, as southerners seek to protect their “peculiar institution,” in are afraid that Lincoln to be going to free their slaves. In between December 1860 and also early 1861, southern states began to pass write-ups of secession, proclaiming their intention to leaving the Union and form their very own government. Tensions finally spilled over and also fighting commenced as soon as South Carolinians fired on ft Sumter in April 1861. The war had begun.

Although the exact influence of Uncle Tom’s Cabin may be difficult to measure, Frederick Douglass voiced elegant worship for the book. That wrote: “The touching, however too truthful tale of Uncle Tom’s Cabin has rekindled the slumbering embers of antislavery zeal into energetic flames. That recitals have baptized with divine fire myriads who before cared nothing because that the bleeding slave.”

Review Questions

1. What book was written as a proslavery argument versus Uncle Tom’s Cabin?

Henry David Thoreau, Walden PondTheodore Dwight Weld, slavery as that IsGeorge Fitzhugh, Sociology for the South, or, The fail of free SocietyFrederick Douglass, stare of the Life the Frederick Douglass

2. What national event inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to compose Uncle Tom’s Cabin?

Passage that the Fugitive servant Act (1850)Passage of the Kansas-Nebraska act (1854)The Dred Scott v. Sandford decision (1857)John Brown’s Raid (1859)

3. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was initially published together a

playpoemserialized novelshort story

4. The widening the transportation and also communication networks together a an outcome of the market change benefited Harriet Beecher Stowe’s cause in writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin because

the an ext books she sold, the wealthier she becameit aided the book become widely read, enhancing abolitionist sentimentshe had the ability to travel broadly in good Britainit produced a mass industry for book-related merchandise

5. Plenty of abolitionists, consisting of Harriet Beecher Stowe, were affected by the democratic appeal to the marginalized included in

Puritanismthe ide of republican motherhoodspiritualismthe Second great Awakening



Title web page of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Refer to the image provided.

According to the location page, this edition of the novel was released in

a free state and a slave statea city well-known for its strong connection to abolitionist sentimentstates that bordered servant statestwo the the 10 largest cities in the United claims at the time

Free an answer Questions

Analyze the resources that shame Harriet Beecher Stowe’s understanding of enslavement in the South.Contrast the reactions to the publishing of Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe in the North and also the South.

AP practice Questions

“Mr. Bailey,

Dear Sir:

I am at present occupied upon a story . . . Embracing a series of sketches which offer the lights and also shadows the the “patriarchal institution,” composed either from observation, occurrences which have arisen in the sphere of my an individual knowledge, or in the expertise of my friends. I shall display the finest side the the thing, and something faintly approaching the worst.

Up to this year ns have always felt the I had actually no particular call to meddle with this subject, . . . Yet I feel currently that the time has come when also a mrs or a boy who deserve to speak a word for freedom and also humanity is bound to speak. . . .

My vocation is simply that of a painter, and my object will be to hold up in the many lifelike and also graphic manner feasible slavery, its reverses, changes, and the negro character, which ns have had actually ample opportunities for studying. Over there is no arguing with pictures, and everybody is impression by them, even if it is they median to it is in or not. . . .

Yours with (sincere) esteem,

H. Stowe”

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Letter to Gamaliel Bailey, march 9, 1851

Refer come the excerpt provided.

1. This letter was likely written in an answer to events connected with

the harshness that the Fugitive Slave law of 1850the issuance that a can be fried Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sandfordthe result of a federal presidential election of 1860a presidential veto of the deteriorate of 1850

2. The excerpt expresses concepts that most directly resulted indigenous the

Seneca drops ConventionFree soil movementSecond great AwakeningDemocratic Party

3. A historian can use this letter to assistance the case that

Harriet Beecher Stowe, as a woman, had difficulty securing a posting contract in the nineteenth-century AmericaHarriet Beecher Stowe is representative that nineteenth-century radical abolitionistsHarriet Beecher Stowe’s writing depended upon sources that questionable validityHarriet Beecher Stowe’s writing, arising within the “private sphere,” is continual with the expected role of women at the time

Primary Sources

Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Boston: man P. Jewett & Co., 1852.

Suggested Resources

Holt, Michael F. The Fate of their Country: Politicians, slavery Extension, and the coming of the polite War. Brand-new York: Hill and also Wang, 2004.

Howe, Daniel Walker. What on foot God Wrought: The revolution of America, 1815-1848. Oxford: Oxford university Press, 2007.

McPherson, James. Battle Cry the Freedom: The Civil battle Era. Oxford, UK: Oxford university Press, 1988.

Potter, David M. The impending Crisis, 1848-1861. New York: Harper and also Row, 1976.

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Reynolds, David S. Mightier than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and also the battle for America. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2011.