After the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed, Harriet Beecher Stowe was moved to write as a way to force the nation to look at its immoral system of slavery (“Connecticut”). “Harriet set about writing a polemical novel illustrating the moral responsibility of the entire nation for the cruel system” (“Harriet” Pinn). The Fugitive Slave law granted the Southerners the right to pursue fugitive slaves into free states. This aroused many abolitionists to action (Smith). This included Harriet and she wanted to write about the conventions of the times (Gerson 28). The only national issue that bothered Harriet was slavery so she wrote decided to write her feelings in a work of fiction (Coil 89).
Uncle Tom’s Cabin was first printed as a serial in an abolitionist paper called The National Era and later printed as a book in 1852. “On the first day, 3,000 copies were sold, within a few days, 10,000 were gone, and by April 1st the book was in its second edition” (“Harriet” Pinn). It was an immediate success when it was first published in 1852 and by 1857 Uncle Tom’s Cabin had been translated into many languages and sold over half a million copies (“Connecticut”). This novel was not only successful in America but in many other countries as well. Pirated, in 1852 one and a half million copies of the book were sold in Great Britain and British colonies (“Harriet” Pinn). “This one work spawned such an unprecedented amount of enthusiasm, indignation, and controversy that it certainly accomplished its mission; to bring the immorality of slavery to the forefront of American thought” (“Connecticut”).
Because Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote this inspiring novel, it caught the attention of everyone, including President Lincoln. It is said that upon meeting Stowe President Lincoln said, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War!” (“Harriet” Harriet Beecher Stowe Center). “Uncle Tom’s Cabin certainly had a tremendous influence on America’s view of slavery and it ensured that Harriet Beecher Stowe and her novel would become a permanent part of American History” (“Connecticut”). Stowe also wrote A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Presenting the Original Facts and Documents Upon Which it is Based. It is said that President Lincoln read it before announcing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 (“Connecticut”). Harriet Beecher Stowe was such an influential writer that even the president of the United States read her work. Uncle Tom’s Cabin contributed to the war because it brought the evils of slavery to the attention of Americans more vividly that any other book had done before (“Harriet” Harriet Beecher Stowe Center). It has even been said that it affected British readers and kept Britain from joining the American Civil War on the Confederate side (“Uncle Tom’s Cabin”).
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Thesis: Harriet Beecher Stowe influenced many Americans to join the abolitionist movement and ultimately caused the offset of the Civil War with her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
- Family History
- Wanted to make a difference
II. Experiences with slavery
- Moved to Cincinnati
- Viewed slave auctions and other cruelties of slavery
- Friends with slave owners and slaves
III. Why She wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin
- Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
- Shows the immorality of slavery
IV. Success of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
- Started as a serial then turned into a novel
- Sold many copies and translated to many languages
- One of the most influential novels of the 19th century
- Success in England
V. Impact on Society
- President Lincoln’s quote
- Kept Britain from helping Confederacy
- Brought evils of slavery to the attention of Americans
Influenced President Lincoln
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“Connecticut”. Netstate. 25 February 2005. nstate. 1 December 2005.
Gerson, Noel. “Harriet Beecher Stowe”. New York Praeger
“Harriet Beecher Stowe”. New York. Praeger Publisher, Inc. 1976.
“Harriet Beecher Stowe”. Pinn. Sunshine for Women. 1 December 2005.
“Harriet Beecher Stowe”. Wikipedia. 20 November 2005. 1 December
“Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Life and Time”. Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.
5 December 2005. <>.
Largent, Kimberly. “Harriet Beecher Stowe: The little woman who wrote
the book that started this great war”. Ehistory. Ohio State University.
5 December 2005.
Smith, Barbara. “Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Little Bit of a Woman”.
Chfweb. Third Floor Publishing. 1 December 2005. <>.
“Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. Africana Online. Toonari. 5 December 2005.