2.27 – American Abolitionists, Part I


Drescher, Abolition, 139-144, 294-311, 322-327

Overview of American Abolitionism, John R. McKivigan. (2 pages)

Skim  the “Library of Congress, The African-American Mosaic, Abolitionism”  to get a sense for the variety of abolitionist strategies in the United States.

Cornell University Libraries, Abolitionists and Strategies

PBS, African-American Abolitionists

Additional optional readings, useful if you wish to focus on the American abolitionists for your essay:

Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Written by Herself (1860)

David Walker, An Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World (1827)

Lydia Maria Child, An Appeal on Behalf of that Class of Americans Called Africans (1833)

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)

The Liberator

This brief segment from PBS provides useful information. 

Discussion questions

[1] Identify some of the signs of strength of pro-slavery interests in the United States from the early 19th century until 1860.

[2] What factors led to the emergence of the American abolitionist movement in the late 1820s and  early 1830s?

[3] Who were some of the most significant American abolitionists?

[4] What arguments did American abolitionists use to oppose slavery?

[5] What were some of the strategies that they adopted  to advance their agenda?

[6] How popular were abolitionists among Americans between the 1830s and 1860?

[7] By 1860, how successful were abolitionists in building up antislavery sentiment among Americans?

First research assignment  – .5% of final grade

Prior to class time, email me a bibliographic listing for three primary sources and three secondary sources relevant to the question you have chosen to write on for your first essay. Write at least 50 words on each source explaining how it will help you answer the essay question. We will discuss your sources in class.


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