Opposition to Slavery (1800-1833)

Abolitionism and Revolts
The Country in Turmoil
The U.S. in the 1820’s had undergone several changes that impacted society greatly.
Southern slaveholders began pushing into Texas and other Mexican territories.
The Old Northwest developed into commercial farming.
The Erie Canal and other new forms of transportation linked the nation.
The factory system expanded and immigration rose.
The rich began heavily
influencing politics.
All this led to Americans
fearing change and looking
for a scapegoat.
Political Paranoia
The “corrupt bargain,” which cheated Jackson out of the presidency in 1825, led to the
formation of the Democratic party and the election of Jackson as president in 1829.
1) Favored states rights and protected slavery.
2) Sought to permanently establish slavery as an institution that could not be
3) Supported the expansion of slavery into new regions.
4) Demanded the removal of Indians.
5)Supported patriarchy (exclusion of women).
6) Believed God & nature had designed blacks for slavery.
Whigs became the party that countered these
ideals. They were conservatives that valued
Christian morality and believed in an active
National government. Northern Whigs in
particular, being influenced by Evangelican
values, supported the rights of blacks and Native
The Second Great Awakening
The Second Great Awakening was a reformist movement in the early 1800’s, and was
a religious movement to establish moral order in a turbulent America.
This movement
shaped the black
churches and led
to Jones and Allen
creating separate
churches along
with others.
Charles Grandison
Finney preached
that ALL men and
women could
become faithful
Christians and be
This movement took a particularly different shape amongst the Evangelicals.
The Benevolent Empire
The Evangelical movements during the Second Great
Awakening emphasized a “practical Christianity,” and
pushed for action.
They believed you had to save others to really be saved,
and that their job was to fight sin and save souls.
This led to the rise of voluntary associations such as
temperance movements, prison reform, health and education
reform, women’s rights, and self-improvement societies.
Out of this movement, Abolitionism became a focal point.
Abolitionism Begins in America
Two movements began during the Revolutionary Era and
lasted up into the Civil War era;
1) Southern: led by slaves and freed blacks.
2) Northern: led by whites and freed blacks.
The Northern abolitionism was dominated by Quakers in
particular, but the revolutionary ideals of the revolutions
in the U.S., France, and Haiti, caused more whites to join
this movement.
There were, however, limits to the Northern abolitionist cause:
1) Blacks and whites worked separately.
2) Abolitionism proceeded gradually to protect the rights of
3) White abolitionists did not advocate for equal rights.
4) Early abolitionists didn’t seek abolition in the south.
The Second Great Awakening and Benevolent Empire, as well as the
growth of black institutions led to a more biracial and wide-ranging
antislavery movements.
From Gabriel to Denmark Vesey
Rebellion in the south only
tightened the restrictions on both
free and enslaved blacks, as well
as increased the fear and
paranoia of southerners.
In 1822, Denmark Vesey, a freed slaves, sought to begin a
rebellion on the 33rd anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille.
He was a devote Methodist that used religion and revolutionary
ideals to plot the rebellion.
Due to a change in date, and the information being leaked by
a house servant, 131 suspects were arrested and Vesey with 34
others was hanged.
The American Colonization Society
The American Colonization Society grew out of the fear
and distrust of a free African American class.
The ACS had a two-part agenda:
1) Gradual abolition in the U.S.
2) Send emancipated slaves and free blacks to
They hoped that slave owners would be more likely to
emancipate slaves if they felt that this would not increase
the free black population.
The movement although popular, did not take into
account the moral and practical objections that blacks
would have to this idea.
Black Nationalism and Colonization
Initially, black leaders saw the positive side of colonization. Prince Hall
had originally argued for colonization, and Paul Cuffe became a
champion for the ACS effort.
The argument that appealed most to black leaders was the fact that
white prejudice would never allow for black people to enjoy full
citizenship, equal protection under the law, and economic success in the
African Americans also viewed colonization as an opportunity to bring
Christianity to Africa. This was due to the belief in a Benevolent Empire.
In 1815, Paul Cuffe took 34 free blacks to Sierra Leone, and later the
AME Bishop Daniel Coker led 86 more colonists to this region in 1817.
By 1838, 2,500 African American colonists had relocated to Sierra Leone,
and by 1860 there were 10,000.
Black Opposition to Colonization
The ACS and the idea of colonization became heavily criticized
around the mid-1820’s.
Samuel Cornish and John Russworm, publishers of the Freedom’s
Journal in NY argued for independent black action against
slavery through self-improvement, education, and other reforms.
They also argued that the ACS was misleading and led to
southern states requiring free blacks to leave or be enslaved.
The biggest argument made by anticolonization supporters was that blacks in the
U.S. were Americans, not Africans. And they
viewed the movement as more of a proslavery
“Do they think to drive us from our country and
homes, after having enriched it with our blood
and tears?” – David Walker
Black Abolitionist Women
Women of this time period were extremely restricted, and found
that churches and benevolent activities were the only area they
could take action. Even here they were seen as secondary to men.
Women such as Charlotte Forten and Maria W. Stewart worked to
found the 2nd women’s antislavery society in Philadelphia in 1833.
Salem, MA was the first society to be formed.
In order to be a part of these female
societies, the women had to be
“respectable” members of society.
Women in the lower or poorer class practiced a more
practical form of abolition such as harboring slaves or saving
money to purchase their families or their own freedom.
The Baltimore Alliance
The larger black opponents to the ACS were
William Watkins, Jacob Greener, and
Hezekiah Grice in Baltimore.
They worked with Benjamin Lundy on the antislavery newspaper The Genius of Universal
These men influenced the young white abolitionist, William Llyod
Garrison. He would become one of the most influential white
abolitionists in history and go on to publish The Liberator.
Garrison became increasingly radical and argued for the immediate,
not gradual, emancipation of slaves. He was also convinced that the
ACS was wrong in their presumptions of what African Americans
David Walker’s Appeal
Walker furiously attacked slavery and advocated for the use of
violence by slaves to gain their freedom.
The Appeal shaped abolitionism in 3 ways:
Shaped the tone of other abolitionist towards immediate emancipation.
Inspired militant black abolitionism.
Caused fear in the South which would later cause the Southern leaders to
make demands that would lead to the Civil War.
Nat Turner
In 1831, Nat Turner became the first African American slave to initiate a large-scale
uprising since Deslondes had done so in Louisiana in 1811.
He was a religious leader amongst the slaves in Northampton County, VA and began
having visions that made him believe that God had intended for him to lead his people
through violence.
He led a band of 60-70 slaves on August 21, 1831 through the plantations, killing 57
men, women, and children.
Turner and 17 others were hanged for insurrection
and treason, and more than 100 other slaves
throughout VA and NC were killed due to paranoia.
The American society was horrified by these events,
and this ultimately led to a commitment from
abolitionists for a peaceful struggle against slavery.
At the same time, Turner was admired by
antislavery groups for his sacrifice.
Northern efforts towards anti-slavery were influenced by the
Second Great Awakening and Benevolent Empire.
The black church, the Bible, and elements of the African
religion helped inspire slave revolutionaries.
Each group inspired one another with their struggle, both
violent and intellectual.
Abolitionists focus turned to immediate and uncompensated
HW: Actively Read Ch.9

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