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What Were the Different Varieties of Abolitionism?

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All throughout history, and even today, people will have their own positions on certain subjects, in the early half of the 19th century a raving topic was that of slavery. Along with the bringing of the first Africans into America came the controversy of whether it was right to use and abuse fellow humans just because of the color of their skin. The period of opposition towards slavery can be broken down into two periods, a period of antislavery movements prior to 1830 and a period of abolitionist movements from the 1830s until the end of the civil war. Despite the efforts of many in the period of antislavery, the movement just didn’t generate an impact as grand as that of the abolitionist’s movement.

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Black and white abolitionists in the first half of the nineteenth century waged a biracial assault against slavery. Their efforts proved to be extremely effective. Abolitionists focused attention on slavery and made it difficult to ignore. They heightened the rift that had threatened to destroy the unity of the nation even as early as the Constitutional Convention. Although some Quakers were slaveholders, members of that religious group were among the earliest to protest the African slave trade, the perpetual bondage of its captives, and the practice of separating enslaved family members by sale to different masters. As the nineteenth century progressed, many abolitionists united to form numerous antislavery societies. These groups sent petitions with thousands of signatures to Congress, held abolition meetings and conferences, boycotted products made with slave labor, printed mountains of literature, and gave innumerable speeches for their cause. Individual abolitionists sometimes advocated violent means for bringing slavery to an end. Although black and white abolitionists often worked together, by the 1840s they differed in philosophy and method. While many white abolitionists focused only on slavery, black Americans tended to couple anti-slavery activities with demands for racial equality and justice.

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Needless to say, the abolition of slavery was the turning point in the history of America. The entire story of the American way to prosperity could be roughly divided into two parts: before and after the abolition of slavery. Yet, like everything else in this world, the Abolitionist movement was not perfect. Not all participants and leaders wanted to have the American society racially integrated. Many others used the Abolitionist movement as an instrument of socialization and self-fulfillment. Nonetheless, the Abolitionist movement in America was the first step in the country’s fight for racial equality – the fight, which seems to have no finish. The Abolitionist movement gained momentum in the 19th century.[Louise Derman-Sparks, 2006] That was when many white Americans, including political and social leaders, joined the abolitionists and created a new, Abolitionist movement. At that time, the Abolitionist movement had two principal goals: first, to abolish slavery and, second, to racially integrate the American society.[David Donald, 1956].

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In summary, during the 1800s the end of slavery was a prominent concern. Slavery was a major issue that took many years to control. Abolition was a social reform movement that took America by storm. Abolitionists made many contributions to society that upset the government mainly in the South. Laws such as the Fugitive Slave Act were set up in order to protect the institution of slavery in America. Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman are two abolitionists whose contributions to America changed history. Harriet Tubman led over 300 people to freedom and Frederick Douglass was a great speaker that constantly spoke out against slavery. The contributions made the abolitionist became to create the picture of a free and equal America.

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Louise Derman-Sparks, Patricia G. Ramsey, and Julie Olsen Edwards, What If All the Kids Are White? Anti-Bias Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families, (New York: Teachers College Press, 2006), 96.

David Donald, “Toward a Reconsideration of Abolitionists”, in Lincoln Reconsidered: Essays on the Civil War, ed. David Donald (New York: Random House, 1956), 34.

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What Were the Different Varieties of Abolitionism?
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