Why Abolitionism?

  • Abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and to emancipate (free) slaves in both Western Europe and the Americas. It usually took part in Northern states (but not everyone was anti-slavery), than in Southern states.
  • The Enlightenment and the Great Awakening are what stirred things up and made some begin to question the morality of slavery.

The Enlightenment (violating the rights of man)

  • European and American intellectual revival, which mainly spoke about rationality

The Great Awakening (slavery is un-Christian)

  • Brought colonists back to religion—it was a religious revival
  • The main message of the Awakening was that: “all men were equal in the eyes of God”

In the eleven states that made up the American South, slavery was a powerful economic institution, and was key for the survival of the agricultural economy.

On the other hand, in the North (1820’s-30’s) the movement grew strong because of three key reasons:

  • Slave revolts were becoming more frequent in the United States and around the world. Abolition would prevent racial violence (i.e. Haiti)
  • The Second Great Awakening—another religious revival, which tried to remove the evils of society
  • The North believed that slavery threatened the harmony of the North and South in the Union

The South believed slavery was a necessary means because of three key reasons:

  • It was what the Southern and U.S economy revolved around and was therefore necessary for survival
  • Slavery was a process of civilization
  • Northern working class are treated even worse than slaves are
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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