The western abolitionists
Metadata[+] Show full item record
"Abolitionist" is a term loosely applied to those individuals who before 1860 opposed any phase of slavery. They may have advocated the abolition of the foreign slave-trade, or domestic slavery, or perhaps they were fighting for the right of free speech on the subject, but in either event they are thus named. The real Abolitionists considered not one but all forms of slavery a moral wrong. To abolish the system they adopted various schemes which at the time would seem most effective. They were more active in their agitation and felt bound by no restrictions; if state or national laws were such as to favor the perpetuity of slavery, they believed in changing the laws. Their appeal was based on moral rights of men, and to this end they labored diligently. Before 1820, the slave-trade was the object of antagonism generally and when it ceased, the system as a whole, was attacked. Opposition took definite shape in the attempts of the churches and abolition societies to arouse public sentiment; in the cooperation of these societies, under the lead of a national emancipation society; in the colonization scheme; in organized political activity based on the restriction of slavery and freedom of discussion. There were a great number in the North, who realized that the institution brought about results unfavorable to the general welfare, and they were strongly in favor of restricting slavery to its existing bounds. The policy of non-interference with slavery in the slave states, but objection to the system in their localities as an economic or social disadvantage, belonged to the class called Anti-Slavery advocates, rather than to the so-called Abolitionists. To gather together all Anti-Slavery advocates of the North and West, to give them a common purpose and plan of action, was largely the work of the western Abolitionists. An attempt has been made in this paper to give some account of the abolition movement in the West, and to give a general idea of the work done by the prominent men of that section. Special attention has been paid to the efforts of those who seem typical of the general class of ablitionists in the West, and who became knonw nationally as out and out Abolitions. In order to understand the conditions which made their work possible, it will be expedient to have an idea of the earlier movements in the North and in the Borders States.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.