Harriet Beecher Stowe • Born in Connecticut, however moved to Cincinnati at age 21 • Cincinnati was across the river from slaveholding state Kentucky, giving Stowe an insight into slave life from former/run-away slaves • Lost her 18-month-old son to cholera, inspiring her, she said, to write Uncle Toms Cabin (as represented in the child Eva). • Grew up in a religious family, her father being a Reverend, and all her sons growing up to be ministers
So you’re the little woman that wrote the book that started this great war! Video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nfJGYR7F0w
Uncle Tom’s Cabin • Published in 1852 • Second-best selling book of the 19th century, only second to the bible • Plot summary: A black slave who befriends most goes through harsh times. He ends up befriending a slave-owners child and touching the lives of many. • Was released in newspapers as installments originally
North Interpretation • The North saw this as a true depiction of slavery. • Made Northerners sympathetic toward slaves. • Published right after the Fugitive Slave Laws, which allowed southern slave owners to come into the north and re-attain their “property” if a slave ran away. This book stirred up feelings of resentment toward this legislation. • Many liberal abolitionists felt the book was not strong enough to call for the immediate abolition of slavery. • Moderate’s in the North felt it was helpful to put a face on slavery, giving it a real feeling.
South Interpretation • Saw this as a false interpretation of slavery. • Were offended by the depiction of white southerners. • Found Tom to be too intelligent to be an accurate depiction of slaves, saying slaves could not survive without being overseen by whites (like animals). • Thought Stowe’s story was not backed by any fact or sources, to which she responded with a “key” which was a collection of sources and stories that helped prove her depiction of slavery. • In 1852, the year of publication, 8 anti-Tom novels were written by in South
As a cause of the War • Conflicting interpretations would appear and cause an even wider divide between the northern and southern states • “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” would push indifferent northerners to the abolitionist cause and the abolitionists to the extreme • It would also invoke anger and retaliation from southerners in the form of complaint letters, anti-abolitionist books, and violence • As a beginning of a war loomed over the country, the conflict caused by this book and the philosophy it imparts to the cause for the abolition of slavery would be used as another reason for battle
Works Cited McGuire, William, and Leslie Wheeler. "Harriet Beecher Stowe." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 28 Jan. 2012. Brinkley, Alan, and McGraw-Hill Higher Education. Alan Brinkley American History. 12th ed. New York: Mcgraw Hill, 2007. Print. Stearns, Edward J. Notes on Uncle Tom's Cabin Being a Logical Answer to Its Allegations and Inferences against Slavery as an Institution. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo, 1853. Print.