- ›› Keywords : Abolition
David Brion Davis, Sterling Professor of History at Yale University, and Steven Mintz, Professor of History at the University of Houston, weave rare letters, diaries, personal narratives, speeches, broadsides, and contemporary accounts from the Gilder Lehrman Collection into a new history of America through 1870, one based largely on first-hand documentary evidence.
Olaudah Equiano purchased his own freedom in England and published his autobiography in 1789. Many people read Equiano’s Narrative, and his account exposing the horrors of slavery influenced Parliament’s decision to end the British slave trade in 1807.
In this letter, John Adams expresses his views on slavery, the dangers posed by abolitionists, and emancipation.
“Injured Humanity” was intended to shock readers and calls on the conscience of citizens to “reject, with horror, the smallest participation in such infernal transactions.” This broadside was printed in New York City by Samuel Wood, a prolific Quaker-reformist.
Washington gradually came to realize that slavery was immoral and contrary to the Revolutionary ideals of liberty and equality. Although he never spoke out publicly against the institution, he did express his objections privately in this letter to John Mercer in 1786.
“Did John Brown fail? John Brown began the war that ended American slavery and made this a free Republic.” —Frederick DouglassBackground
The late 1840s and the 1850s were a turbulent and complex time in American history as the country ground inexorably toward civil war. Abolitionist and pro-slavery positions hardened both north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line as events built toward a bloody confrontation. John Brown would be a catalyst that triggered the violent reaction. As he wrote just before his execution: “I...
January 1, 2013, marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. This revolutionary document ushered in the Thirteenth Amendment and the end of slavery in the United States. These two great legal documents were the culmination of a long struggle that began in the colonial period with the arrival of the first African slaves in North America. The Great Emancipation of the 1860s cannot be understood without studying what is often called the “first emancipation”—the growing belief among many...