Abolitionism in the 18th and 19th Centuries

The truth, self-evident, that all men are created equal, has not always been so self-evident for many humans throughout history. Introduction Abolitionism (from “abolish”) was a political movement in late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that sought to end the practice of slavery and the worldwide slave trade. Its chief impetus came from Protestantism, as most[…]

The Bostonian Who Armed the Anti-Slavery Settlers in ‘Bleeding Kansas’

Amos Lawrence backed abolitionist pioneers in the town that bears his name. On May 24, 1854, Anthony Burns, a young African-American man, was captured on his way home from work. He had escaped from slavery in Virginia and had made his way to Boston, where he was employed in a men’s clothing store. His owner[…]

How Abolitionists Fought – and Lost – the Battle with America’s Sweet Tooth

Cane sugar was the source of oppression and bitter opposition before cotton became the symbol of American slavery. Today, land developer and businessman William Cooper is best known for founding Cooperstown, New York, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. But back in the 1790s, Cooper was a judge and a congressman who used his[…]

A History of Abolitionism in the Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

The worldwide movement against slavery (still not entirely eliminated) can be seen as a coming of age for humanity. Introduction Abolitionism (from “abolish”) was a political movement in late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that sought to end the practice of slavery and the worldwide slave trade. Its chief impetus came from Protestantism, as most abolitionists,[…]

The Agitator: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolitionists

Garrison considered himself a pacifist, a believer in the power of truth to undo the wickedness of slavery without recourse to bloodshed. By James Williford On July 4, 1854, William Lloyd Garrison set fire to a copy of the U.S. Constitution. “A covenant with death,” he called it, “and an agreement with hell.” Holding the[…]

Abolition and Emancipation Were Not the Same Thing

After the Civil War, Rose Herera wanted more than freedom – she wanted justice. Early in 1865, in the city of New Orleans, a newly freed woman named Rose Herera made a startling allegation. She told a local judge that her former owner’s wife, Mary De Hart, had abducted three of her children and was[…]

Abolition and European Imperialism in East Africa, 1845-1893

What were the links between abolition and imperialism in East Africa? Introduction The islands of Zanzibar and Pemba off the East coast of Africa have long been part of a cosmopolitan Indian Ocean trading world. On these tropical islands, as well as the nearby coast, the ancient African civilization of the Swahili grew wealthy on[…]

Did the End of the Civil War Mean the End of Slavery?

April 1865 marked the beginning of a new battle for American abolitionists. On the same morning that Abraham Lincoln died from an assassin’s bullet, noted abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison was quietly gloating by the Charleston, South Carolina graveside of John C. Calhoun. Garrison, approaching his 60th birthday, had traveled down to secession’s birthplace with a[…]

Voices in the Campaign for Abolition

From the mid-18th century, Africans and people of African descent – many of them former slaves – began to write down their stories. This article describes these writings and assesses their role in the abolition of slavery. Introduction Slavery in the Atlantic world was more complex than history books can readily convey. Most enslaved people[…]