Abolitionism was the movement to end slavery in the United States. This included the slave trade and use of slave labor. Abolitionism was favored by the northern states and hated by the southern states, resulting in sectionalism. The resulting sectionalism in the United States went on to cause the civil war. The abolition movement also sparked ideas in other countries through abolitionist publications like slave narratives (literary publications by freed slaves that influenced helped spread the abolitionist movement).

Shown is a slave on his knees begging for freedom. The words show that the slaveholders viewed their slaves a property rather than people.

"The Freethought Trail." The Freethought Trail. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014.

Uncle Tom's Cabin was an antislavery novel that outlined the harsh realities of slavery and helped support the abolitionist cause.

"Re-reading a Classic - Uncle Tom's Cabin; Or, Life Among the Lowly."TreasuryIslands. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014.

Primary Source: William Lloyd Garrison

"Assenting to the "self-evident truth" maintained in the American Declaration of Independence, "that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights — among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," I shall strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population. In Park-street Church, on the Fourth of July, 1829, in an address on slavery, I unreflectingly assented to the popular but pernicious doctrine of gradual abolition. I seize this opportunity to make a full and unequivocal recantation, and thus publicly to ask pardon of my God, of my country, and of my brethren the poor slaves, for having uttered a sentiment so full of timidity, injustice and absurdity."

-William Lloyd Garrison, "To the Public," open letter, 1831.

This excerpt shows that while many people were against abolitionism, it was strongly supported by others. Garrison believed that the slavery was unconstitutional and that all men should be free. Garrison was a strong supporter of immediate abolition and even started an abolitionist newspaper, "The Liberator".

Causes of Abolitionism

- the United States Constitution states that all men are created equal

- the northerners didn't rely on slavery so they didn't need it

- testimonies from freed slaves such as Frederick Douglas showed people the harsh realities of slavery

Effects of Abolitionism

- the Civil War broke out because of abolitionism and the sectionalism that it caused between the North and the South

Long Term Significance of Abolitionism

- the abolitionist movement led to the emancipation of slaves in America

- abolitionism also led to more rights for freed African-Americans

Important Abolitionists

-Benjamin Franklin-leader of Pennsylvania Society for Abolition of Slavery

-Frederick Douglas-freed slave and outspoken abolitionist

-William Lloyd Garrison-founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society

Connection to Earlier Time Period

The abolitionist movement was similar to the abolitionist movement that occurred for the encomienda system in Central and South America. Just like the big names advocating for abolitionism in the US, people like Bartholomew de las Casas spoke out against the enslavement of Indians.    

By Will Hardin and Blake Moore

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