Summary: The Great Divide

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The Great Divide
Abolitionist Divided
In the mid-1800’s abolition was high on the priority list for many northerners. The main purpose was the immediate emancipation of all slaves and to end the racial discrimination that African Americans faced. Although the politics of abolition were different amongst the men who sought the freedom of slaves. Some sought immediate emancipation while others were more moderate and argued for the gradual release of slaves. In addition to radical abolitionists and moderate abolitionists a group calls “free Soil” abolitionists fought to contain the spread of slavery into new western territories.
Radical abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison became a “potent force” during the anti-slavery movement (Paul
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Garrison’s podium for the emancipation of African Americans was that of a religious nature. The “Second Great Awakening” promoted many people to advocate for emancipation (Staff 2009). His belief that slavery was sinful and “intolerable” was everyday propaganda in his writings (Paul 2013). His radical views on anti-slavery called for abolitionists to “reject” as government activities this included “voting, holding of offices” or anything to do with the processes of government (Paul 2013). In December of 1833 Garrison joined with Arthur and Lewis Tappan and sixty other delegates of both races and genders to form the “American Anti-Slavery Society” (AASS) (Staff 2009). AASS “endorsed nonviolence” within the anti-slavery movement (Staff 2009). AASS grew in supporters and within two years had the backing of many African American communities in the North. AAS began to branch out into other “free states”, inundating the North with anti-slavery materials and “petitions” demanding that “Congress end all federal support of slavery” (Staff 2009). The demand for immediate emancipation created a divide amongst abolitionists. The…show more content…
The movement caused a swell of legal issues and legislation that addressed the rhetoric that abolitionists were publishing, lecturing and distributing. Many southerners were angry that the Free Soil Party wanted to ban the expansion of slavery into Texas. The South in an attempt to defend their secession from the Union by citing two issues of “betrayal” by the North (Davis 2006). Slaveholders were angry because they were being barred from taking their “legally approved slave property” into new territories, and they felt that slaves were being “encouraged” to runaway into the Northern territories (Davis 2006). Between 1836-1844, congress was pushed into the “gag rule”, which banned any petitions that called for abolition of slavery (Davis 2006). “Southern mobs” ceased and burnt anti-slavery literature and mailings, this lead to the Post Master ”censoring” anti-slavery mail that was to be sent into the south (Davis 2006). Garrison didn’t go un-noticed in the south either a “bounty” for his capture was offered with terms of “dead or alive” (Davis 2006). The Supreme Court ruled that fugitive slaves should be returned to their owners. The Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, dictated that fugitives “could not testify” for themselves, they had no right to “jury trials”, this act left fugitive slaves especially vulnerable to being returned to their former masters or owners. Fines were imposed on those who were found to be
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