Abolition Essay

This essay has a total of 871 words and 5 pages.


A Stronger Resistance
The abolitionist movement in the United States sought to eradicate slavery using a wide
range of tactics and organizations. The antislavery movement mobilized many African
Americans and some whites who sought to end the institution of slavery. Although both
black and white abolitionists often worked together, the relationship between them was
intricate. The struggle for black abolitionists was much more personal because they
wanted to end slavery and also wanted to gain equal rights for blacks. However, many
white abolitionists only sought to end slavery and did not fight for equality for blacks.
From these exceedingly contrasting perspectives and the continuation of slavery, the
sentiment of many abolitionists became more militant and radical; some abolitionists began
to use more violent methods of resistance to abolish slavery.

Before the 1830s most antislavery activists stressed gradual emancipation. These feelings
were expressed mainly by Southern whites, some possessing a fear of free blacks not being
ready for freedom and others holding beliefs that slavery would gradually disappear
(Notes, 10/18/00). Generally, only black abolitionists demanded an immediate end to
slavery. This difference in opinion contributed to some blacks taking more violent
measures to gain freedom and equality. Further contributing to the more aggressive
tactics were the goals of the white abolitionists. Many white abolitionists were not able
to accept blacks as their equals and did not fight for black equality, which led to
increased tension between blacks and whites.

More militant tactics, such as uprising and revolts, were gaining support in the
nineteenth century. Nat Turner was a black abolitionist that supported the use of
aggressive and forceful tactics. In 1831, in Virginia, he led an insurrection and more
than 55 white people were killed. It was very bloody and violent and angered many whites
from its brutality (Nash, 275). Yet, many blacks felt that the only thing that would get
a response was an uprising and taking drastic measures.

In Christiana, Pennsylvania, the Fugitive Slave Laws were passed. These laws stated that
whites could recapture their runaway slaves. Blacks were outraged by the passing of these
laws and rioted in response to this (Roots of Resistance). This demonstrated how blacks
would react in manners that were more forceful and these tactics were used by a number of
other abolitionists, however, many still used different approaches to battling slavery.

Many abolitionists used writing to end slavery. In 1827, the first black newspaper,
Freedom’s Journal, was created by Samuel Cornish and John Russwurm (Notes, 11/29/00).
This paper spread ideas of freedom and equality and gave hope to the black readers. David
Walker, the son of a free black mother and a slave father, pushed the abolitionist
movement into militancy in 1829 when he published David Walker’s Appeal. His work
inspired blacks to organize and urged slaves to rise up against their masters and take
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