Abolitionist Movement Analysis

1371 Words 6 Pages
During the antebellum of the Civil War, the United States was divided between two sides: those who were against slavery, the abolitionist northerners, and those who were for slavery, the pro slavery southerners. The two groups fought endlessly against one another for the elimination or the expansion of slavery within the United States territory. Both sides presented reasonable explanations on why slavery should be abolished or outspread in our expanding country. For example, the abolitionists believed that slavery was immoral and unjustifiable whereas the pro slavery southerners argued that slavery benefited our economy and related it to religion, stating that even Abraham in the Bible had slaves (The Southern Argument for Slavery). Both groups …show more content…
One famous author who helped spread abolitionist ideas across the country was William Lloyd Garrison. Garrison is still well known nowadays for his contributions to the abolitionist movement, and also to the field of journalism. Starting in 1831, Garrison helped publish a weekly abolitionist newspaper entitled The Liberator (William L. Garrison). Besides through his abolitionist writings, Garrison fought against slavery by helping to form the American Anti-Slavery Society, a group dedicated to abolishing slavery in the United States. In comparison to other abolitionists of his time, Garrison had very radical ideas that most Americans disagreed with. Some of his more radical views included that the North should secede from the Union and form their own country, and that the Constitution was an illegal document because it denied freedom to African Americans (William L. Garrison). Through his writing and orations, similar to other abolitionists, Garrison’s ultimate goal was to abolish slavery as soon as possible. In order to achieve his goal, Garrison created his abolitionist newspaper and traveled among the states to lecture northerners about the true evil of slavery. Through his writings and oratory skills, William Lloyd Garrison played a fundamental rule in abolishing …show more content…
Many of the southern states established laws to restrict abolitionist propaganda from entering their territory. For example, when abolitionist newspapers and literature became popular in the northern states, in 1820, South Carolina instituted penalties for anyone caught brining abolitionist literature into the state (Abolitionist Movement). The southern states also worked to pass new laws relating to the capture of runaway slaves. For example, the Fugitive Slave Act allowed southern bounty hunters to travel north to capture runaway slaves and bring them back into the southern states (Enabling Freedom). In 1850, when the Underground Railroad was becoming increasingly popular, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed that subjected every person who was caught helping runaway slaves to six months in prison and a $1000 fine (Enabling Freedom). Therefore, as the abolitionist movement grew stronger, the southerners rebelled and used the tactics against the north that included making the existing laws more strict and making the penalties for breaking the law unreasonable. By making the laws and penalties harsher, the southerners hoped it would prevent the runaway slaves from receiving help and guidance from the free

Related Documents