Key Players in the Abolition of Slavery

Many people were involved in the abolishment of slavery.

Some were former slaves themselves while many were not. They were all joined together by their goal to rid the United States of slavery.

Harriet Beecher Stowe was a woman born to a family that encouraged the education of all of their children and wanted them to participate in political events. She was a writer who loved to involve herself in public affairs all throughout her life. She is best known for her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which provides an in-depth and moving look at what slavery was actually like. Her goal was to show Northerners who had never actually experienced slavery up close what life was like for slaves, and then spur the Northerners to action. Uncle Tom’s Cabin became a bestseller in the United States, Britain, Europe, and Asia, but more importantly it inspired a wave of anti-slavery all throughout the North.

Harriet Tubman was also an influential woman in the abolition of slavery. A former slave herself, Harriet made numerous trips back and forth from the south in order to lead other slaves into freedom as well. She worked with what became known as the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses that were meant to aid slaves fleeing from captivity. During the Civil War, Harriet worked as a cook and nurse for the Union Army before becoming an armed scout and spy. This made her the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, as she was a guide in the Combahee River Raid. Harriet not only gained her own freedom, but she worked for the rest of her life to make sure she freed or helped as many slaves as she possibly could.

John Brown was a more extreme member of the abolitionist movement. He lived as a young man in Ohio and around active opponents of slavery so these feelings became ingrained into his being. It is said he saw a slave treated most horribly in Ohio and from that point on he despised slavery. He began by helping several slaves to escape and then decided to begin fighting against those who were proslavery in a bigger way. Brown began fighting proslavery forces in “bloody Kansas,” even murdering some proslavery settlers. Many northern extremists saw him as a hero who had built up a small fight group of men who aimed to free the slaves. He led a raid on the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry that was ultimately unsuccessful as a raid and led to the deaths of many of his men and his own capture. While the raid did not accomplish much at the time, analysts have later decided that it did much to bring about the Civil War. It sparked outrage and awareness in the Northerners and encouraged them to take up their own arms and fight for what they believed in.

            These three people are extraordinary examples of some of the key players in the abolitionist movement. They did so much for such an important movement, and all helped bring about the Civil War and the freedom of the slaves in their own individual ways.

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