Abolitionism is the idea of people wanting to end slavery immediately in the 1830s. This idea became more popular because of the Second Great Awakening where people began to become more religious and moral. The term comes from the the phrase "abolish slavery". Most of the abolitionists were in the North. Not abolitionists had such extreme views. Many believed that ending slavery too quickly would disrupt the economy and social hierarchy, and possibly divide the nation. Abolitionists typically spread their ideas through newspapers and pamphlets. Many abolitionists counseled Northerners to turn against the churches that they believed were corrupted by slavery, and encouraged people to refuse to vote in order to express their disapproval of how the constitution allowed for slavery.  Abolitionism is relevant because it lead to the Civil War and then the Emancipation Proclamation that freed all slaves, both under Abraham Lincoln.

The 13th amendment, which abolished slavery, was one of the Civil War amendments that greatly expanded the civil rights of Americans
In 1787, Josiah Wedgwood designed this medallion as apart of the anti-slavery campaign.


The Second Great Awakening caused abolitionism because Enlightenment thinkers criticized slavery for violating the rights of man. Also, religious groups saw it as unchristian-like.


Some effects of abolitionism were the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and slaves escaped from the South to join the Union Army.


Abolitionism is significant because it ended the slave trade and emancipated slaves in the Americas.  Also, the 13th Amendment was made stating that slavery would officially be abolished.

Important people:

-Abraham Lincoln- president during the Civil War and proposed the Emancipation Proclamation

-William Lloyd Garrison- important abolitionist who influenced many northerners to protest antislavery by refusing to vote, and by writing in an anti-slavery newspaper called The Liberator.

-Frederick Douglass- important abolitionist leader who was a former slave. He created the anti-slavery newspaper called The North Star, and gave speeches against slavery.

Connection to earlier time period:

Southern plantation owners were opposed to the abolitionism ideas and were wary that their slaves would revolt against them like the slaves in Haiti did in the Haitian Revolution from 1791-1804.

This open letter by William Lloyd Garrison, one of the most prominent abolitionists, in 1831 called "To the Public" calls the public to action against the enemies of the African Americans by advocating for emancipation. He addresses the unconstitutionality of slavery, and advocates for immediate emancipation rather that allowing the evil act to gradually be put to an end.


"The 1807 Act and Its Effects: The Abolition of Slavery Project." The 1807 Act and Its Effects: The Abolition of Slavery Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014.

"AAP Brief History of Movement." AAP Brief History of Movement. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Nov. 2014.

"Columbia American History Online." Columbia American History Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014.

"13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Abolition of Slavery (1865)." Our Documents -. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

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