The Abolitionist Movement

Introduction

The Abolitionist movement remains one of the most popular objects of historical analysis. Surrounded by political and social controversies, the Abolitionist movement exemplified the triumph of the new racial mentality and a call to end slavery in America.

Needless to say, the abolition of slavery was the turning point in the history of America. The entire story of the American way to prosperity could be roughly divided into two parts: before and after the abolition of slavery. Yet, like everything else in this world, the Abolitionist movement was not perfect.

Not all participants and leaders wanted to have the American society racially integrated. Many others used the Abolitionist movement as an instrument of socialization and self-fulfillment. Nonetheless, the Abolitionist movement in America was the first step in the country’s fight for racial equality – the fight, which seems to have no finish.

The Abolitionist movement gained momentum in the 19th century.[1] That was when many white Americans, including political and social leaders, joined the abolitionists and created a new, Abolitionist movement. At that time, the Abolitionist movement had two principal goals: first, to abolish slavery and, second, to racially integrate the American society.[2]

The latter was an extremely controversial task, since not all leaders were committed to anti-racist values. As the Abolitionist movement was reaching its culmination, the gap between anti-slavery and anti-racial moods became even more pronounced; many abolitionists were willing to eliminate slavery without giving Blacks sufficient self-development opportunities. Just a few, like John Brown, dared to fight for multi-racism and multiculturalism in America.[3]

The lack of political agreement was not the only problem faced by abolitionists. Most abolitionist leaders were of Northeastern origin, brought up in faith and piety, and educated in the best traditions of political conservatism.[4] They had fervor to lead but could not find any followers.[5] They entered the Abolitionist movement with a hope to realize their personal and political ambitions.

The movement of such scope and magnitude would enable them to reassert themselves with their traditional values and beliefs.[6] As a result, abolitionism turned into a movement, created to end slavery and, simultaneously, add meaning to the strivings and lives of the then social elite.[7]

Could the Abolitionist movement achieve all those purposes? Hardly so; rather, the complexity of the social meanings and principles caused confusion among leaders and their followers. For example, Frederick Douglass had to part with his lifetime ally, William Lloyd Garrison, on the premise that the latter refused to open and support a black-run newspaper.[8] Simultaneously, those controversies could not reduce the historical significance of the Abolitionist movement.

For the first time in the American history, slavery became a serious impediment to the cultural and social evolution among the states. Abolitionism as a means of self-expression caused profound influences on the structure of social relations in America: in a pursuit of challenge, young abolitionist leaders opened schools for blacks and invited them to their weddings.[9] In the meantime, restoring the traditional values of the social elite became one of the abolitionists’ top priorities.[10]

Abolitionism helped to personify the pain of social displacement and empowered young leaders. Abolitionism was the starting point in the subsequent evolution of the American society toward racial and social integration. It was also “an anguished protest of an aggrieved class against a world they never made”.[11] Although abolitionism never achieved the goal of racial integration, it became a starting point in the country’s fight for racial equality – the fight which seems to have no finish.

Conclusion

The Abolitionist movement remains one of the central objects of history research. Much has been written and said about abolitionism and its implications for history. The importance of the Abolitionist movement cannot be overstated.

For the first time in the American history, slavery became a serious impediment to the cultural and social development among the states. Abolitionism was the starting point in the subsequent evolution of the American society toward racial and social integration. It became a starting point in the country’s fight for racial equality – the fight which seems to have no finish.

Bibliography

Derman-Sparks, Louise, Patricia G. Ramsey, and Julie Olsen Edwards. What If All the Kids Are White? Anti-Bias Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families. New York: Teachers College Press, 2006.

Donald, David. “Toward a Reconsideration of Abolitionists.” In Lincoln Reconsidered: Essays on the Civil War, edited by David Donald, 19-36. New York: Random House, 1956.

Louise Derman-Sparks, Patricia G. Ramsey, and Julie Olsen Edwards, What If All the Kids Are White? Anti-Bias Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families, (New York: Teachers College Press, 2006), 94.
Ibid.
Louise Derman-Sparks, Patricia G. Ramsey, and Julie Olsen Edwards, What If All the Kids Are White? Anti-Bias Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families, (New York: Teachers College Press, 2006), 96.
David Donald, “Toward a Reconsideration of Abolitionists”, in Lincoln Reconsidered: Essays on the Civil War, ed. David Donald (New York: Random House, 1956), 34.
Ibid.
Ibid., 35.
Ibid.
Louise Derman-Sparks, Patricia G. Ramsey, and Julie Olsen Edwards, What If All the Kids Are White? Anti-Bias Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families, (New York: Teachers College Press, 2006), 94.
Louise Derman-Sparks, Patricia G. Ramsey, and Julie Olsen Edwards, What If All the Kids Are White? Anti-Bias Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families, (New York: Teachers College Press, 2006), 94.
David Donald, “Toward a Reconsideration of Abolitionists”, in Lincoln Reconsidered: Essays on the Civil War, ed. David Donald (New York: Random House, 1956), 35.
Ibid.