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Abolitionism was a popular movement that started in May 1787 and lasted until the American Civil War. This popular movement was an expression of moralism and gained support from Quakers. Its supporters included industrial workers, women, and children. The following article explores its history. Its key themes include:
Abolitionism began in May 1787
In May 1787, the Society for the Abolition of Slavery was founded. By 1792, the movement had widespread support, especially in Northern England. In 1792, the House of Commons voted to abolish slavery. In the following year, more states passed abolition laws. By 1833, all enslaved people were free. But the struggle had just begun.
Proponents of abolition included many religious groups. The Society of Friends, which had been active in the anti-slavery movement since the late 1700s, was particularly effective in organizing local networks of abolitionists. Meanwhile, the Clapham sect of the evangelical movement also helped build abolitionist networks among lower-class men.
Attracted support from Quakers
While most Quakers were opposed to slavery, many supported it, and some even owned slaves. However, some Quakers were against the practice and banned it within the society. They also conducted demonstrations and distributed pamphlets calling for immediate emancipation. Their efforts gave birth to the abolitionist movement.
One of the most prominent abolitionists was William Lloyd Garrison. He believed that gradualism only slowed the process of emancipating the enslaved. This prompted the organization of the American Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia, and at least a third of its members were Quakers. This convention called for immediate emancipation for enslaved people. Other abolitionists included Lucretia and James Mott, as well as Levi Coffin, a leader of the Underground Railroad.
In the twentieth century, a movement called landmarkism had a big impact on Baptist practice. In the South, landmarkism aimed to promote the idea of white supremacy over blacks. This movement influenced Baptists' practices in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Although the Southern Baptist Convention has unified recently, many observers still do not expect a reconciliation between northern and southern Baptists.
Many Southern Baptists are opposed to abortion. They are not convinced that women's lives should be put in jeopardy. But some Southern Baptists see the abolitionist movement as a threat to the very fabric of the church.
The abolitionist movement pushed for an end to slavery and the equal rights for women. This movement spawned many reform movements and women took the lead in many of these campaigns. Some of these reform movements saw immediate results, while others waited until the Civil War ended in order to see real change.
Women's abolitionist activities helped establish the power of women to effect social change. They gathered signatures for antislavery petitions and organized petition campaigns. In the 1830s, radical abolitionists weaponized petitioning, and by 1837, they had organized antislavery petitions on a national scale. Despite being met with criticism, antislavery petitions were successful. The New England women were particularly effective in organizing antislavery petitions.
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