Analysis Of Levi Coffin And Direct Action: The North Carolinian Quaker Movement

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Levi Coffin and Direct Action: A Historical Analysis of the Important Contributions of North Carolinian Quakers in the Smuggling of Slaves in the Underground Railroad


This historical study will define the importance of the North Carolinian Quaker movement to apply “direct action” to the smuggling of salves in contrast to the more ideological and political abolitionist movements of the Pennsylvania Quaker movements. Initially, the Pennsylvania Assembly of the 18th century had imparted an important ideological opposition to slavery through the influence of the Society of Friends. In the case of William Southeby, Northern Quakers took direct action to stop slavery in the early 1700s, yet the movement became increasingly ideological
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In this manner, Woodman resents the ideological resistance to slavery, but he rarely took direct action against the slave owning classes, nor did he participate in any form of “underground railroad” that may have liberated slaves from the institution of slavery. In fact, he had supported it through the premise of professionalism as a code of conduct in the workplace. Woolman exemplifies the ideological resistance to slavery with was primarily based on essays and his autobiography, as a form of passive resistance to slavery. This is a major feature of anti-slavery sentiment in the Quaker community, which was often divided on the use of civil disobedience or direct action methods, such as affecting the movement of slaves through future organizations, such as the Underground Railroad, that took much greater risks to the life and well-being of the activist. Once again, the primary function of Northern abolitionist movements in the Pennsylvania Quaker community were ideological or literary in an attempt to influence public opinion and social values throughout the 18th century. Woodman and other Quakers reflect a determined effort to end slavery as a causal and social phenomenon, which also defines a more realistic understanding of the limitations of …show more content…
Levi Coffin was a major figure in the formation of the Underground Railroad, but it also involved the larger Quaker community that was taking legal actions to end the institution of slavery. In this manner, the political and social legacy of Quaker involvement in anti-slavery movements is an important factor in the development of abolitionist movements in North Carolina, yet southern Quakers far more risks through direct action (imprisonment, death, physical harm, etc.) to transport slaves out of the state. Certainly, this shows a more active mode of resistance to slavery, which defines the role of North Carolinian Quakers in this fundamental change in community-based abolitionist strategies. These early developments define the transition from the passive methods of Northern Quaker activism to the more aggressive aspects of direct action that made it possible for North Carolinian Quakers to lay the rails for the Underground Railroad. In no uncertain terms, the Southern Quaker community sought to follow through their ideological values through deeds, instead of passive activism and literary propaganda. These are important ways in which to understand how the transportation of slaves became a dominant method of ending

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