SOCIAL, POLITICAL, AND RELIGIOUS CHANGE, 1800–1860 abolitionist movement and Religion

What will you learn?

USI.31 Describe the formation of the abolitionist movement, the roles of various abolitionists, and the response of southerners and northerners to abolitionism. (H)
  • A. Frederick Douglass
  • B. William Lloyd Garrison
  • C. Sojourner Truth
  • D. Harriet Tubman
  • E. Theodore Weld
USI.32 Describe important religious trends that shaped antebellum America. (H)
  • A. the increase in the number of Protestant denominations
  • B. the Second Great Awakening
  • C. the influence of these trends on the reaction of Protestants to the growth of Catholic immigration

What were the historical events that led to the start of the Abolitionist Movement?

  • The United States were divided by Northern states whose economy was based on manufacturing and industrialization and the Southern States whose climate (weather) and natural resources forced an economy based on the labor intensive farming of tobacco, rice, cotton, sugar cane and indigo.
  • The invention of the Eli Whitney Cotton Gin had a huge impact on slavery turning cotton into a cash crop in 1800, using the slave plantation system of farming.
  • The 1830 religious revival movement, referred to as the Second Great Awakening, inspired the establishment of Abolitionist (anti-slavery) movements in the North, in which people called for emancipation on religious grounds (religious ideas).
[Receipt for sale of Jane, age 18, and her son, Henry, age 1 and all future children, December 20, 1849]
  • Ownership of children that might be born in the future is defined in this photograph of a receipt for six hundred dollars paid by Judge S. Williams of Eufaula, Dec. 20, 1849 for Jane, a Negro woman aged 18 and her son Henry, one year old. This paper is owned by Judge Williams' grandson, Richard Malcolm McEachern, Eufaula, Ala.

What was the goal of the Abolitionist Movement?

  • The goal of the Abolitionist Movement was to abolish slavery. Various methods were employed to achieve their goal including:
  • Protest groups focused attention on slavery
  • Anti-slavery propaganda (ideas that would change peoples minds) by Journalists and Authors such as Anthony Benezet, David Walker, William Ellery Channing, William Lloyd Garrison, Elijah Lovejoy, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Political pressure as Abolitionists petitioned legislatures (they sent papers to congress asking for slavery to be stopped).
  • Militant (violent) Activists increased pressure to change things including John Brown’s raid at the federal arsenal in Harper’s Ferry

When did Abolitionist Movement begin?

  • The Abolitionist Movement was established in 1830. Up to the passing of the 13th Amendment slaves could only escape the bondage of slavery by systems such as the "Underground Railroad" or to spend many years working towards their goal of buying freedom from slavery.
Bell Rack-used to prevent slaves from escaping.


  1. Frederick Douglass (1818-95)- was a prominent American abolitionist, author and orator. Born a slave, Douglass escaped at age 20 and went on to become a world-renowned anti-slavery activist.
  2. William Lloyd Garrison(1805–1879)- was an American journalistic crusader who helped lead the successful abolitionist campaign against slavery in the United States. In 1830 he started an abolitionist paper, The Liberator.
  3. Sojourner Truth(c. 1797–1883)- She devoted her life to the abolitionist cause and helped recruiting black troops for the Union Army. Her best-known speech on racial inequalities, "Ain't I a Woman?" was delivered extemporaneously in 1851 at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention.
  4. Harriet Tubman(c. 1820–1913)- Harriet Tubman escaped slavery to become a leading abolitionist. She led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad.
  5. Theodore Weld(1803–1895)-was one of the architects of the American abolitionist movement during its beginning years from 1830 through 1844, playing a role as writer, editor, speaker, and organizer against slavery.
  6. John Brown(1800-1859)- was an American abolitionist who believed armed insurrection was the only way to overthrow the institution of slavery in the United States.
Created By
Pedro Menino


Created with images by cliff1066™ - "John Brown" • Wystan - ""Breaking Up of an Abolition Meeting in Michigan. Sketch by Charles M. __?__, University of Michigan."" • Boston Public Library - "My Bondage and My Freedom. Part I: Life as a Slave. Part II: Life as a Freeman. [Title page and frontispiece]" • hannibal1107 - "Boston Citizens break up an Abolitionist meeting" • Boston Public Library - "Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly [Title page]"

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