During the 1830s and 1840s, abolitionists were almost as unpopular in the North as they were in the South. Evaluate the statement, indicating the major groups opposing the abolitionists and the reasons for their opposition. What effect did Northern racism have on both the abolitionists and their opponents.

          " The war which the abolitionists wage against us... is a war of religion and political favoritism... waged not against our lives, but our character... we cannot remain here in an endless struggle in defense of our character, our property and institutions..." 

          "The fifth amendment of the Constitution offers an insuperable barrier, which provides, among other things, that 'no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public uses without compensation.'  Are not slaves property? and if so how can Congress anymore take away the property of a master and his slave,  in this District, than it could his life and liberty?"

Source:  John C. Calhoun, speech to Congress (March 9, 1836).

           "We shall not make the black man a slave; we shall not buy him or sell him; but we shall not associate with him.  He shall be free to live, and to thrive,  if he can, and pay taxes and perform duties; but he shall not be free to dine and drink at our board -- to share with us the deliberations of the jury box -- to sit upon the seat of judgment, however capable he may be -- to plead in our courts -- to represent us in legislature -- to attend us at the bed of sickness and pain -- to mingle with us in the concert room, the lecture room, the theater, or the church, or to marry with our daughters.  We are of another race, and he is inferior.  Let him know his place -- and keep it."
Source:  Charles Mackay, Life and Liberty in America: or, Sketches of a Tour in the United States and Canada (1857-1858).

        "In our opinion. . . the causes which have impeded the progress and prosperity of the South, have dwindled our commerce. . . into the most contemptible insignificance; sunk a large majority of our people in galling poverty and ignorance, rendered a small minority conceited and tyrannical, and driven the rest away from their homes; entailed upon us a humiliating dependence on the Free States; disgraced us in the recesses of our own souls, and brought us under reproach in the eyes of all civilized and enlightened nations—may all be traced to one common source, and there find solution in the most hateful and horrible word that was ever incorporated into the vocabulary of human economy—Slavery! . . ." 

          "How can the evil be averted? What are the most prudent and practical mean that can be devised for the abolition of slavery? In the solution of these problems it becomes necessary to deal with a multiplicity of stubborn realities. And yet, we can see no reason why North Carolina, in her sovereign capacity, may not, with equal ease and success do what forty-five other states of the world have done within the last forty-five years. Nor do we believe any good reason exists why Virginia should not perform as great a deed in 1859 as did New York in 1799. Massachusetts abolished slavery in 1780; would it not be a masterly stroke of policy in Tennessee, and every other slave State, to abolish it in or before 1860? . . . "

Source:  Hinton Helper, The Impending Crisis, 1850.

            "The Oracular Decisions of God have positively declared that the Slave Trade is intrinsically good and licit, [and that the holding of slaves] is perfectly consonant to the principles of the Law of Nature, the Mosaic Dispensation, and the Christian Law..." 

          "... slaves' lives in America were in every way superior to their lives in Africa, especially since here they were subjected to 'Christian influences.'..."

          "... Abraham owned slaves, 'our Imitation of him in this Moral Action is as warrantable as that of [adopting] his Faith..."

Source:  Larry E. Tise, A History of The Defense of Slavery In America

           "However sound the great body of the non-slaveholding States are at present, in the course of a few years they will be succeeded by those who will have been taught to hate the people and institutions of nearly one half of this Union, ,with a hatred more deadly than one hostile nation ever entertained towards another. It is easy to see the end... It is impossible under the deadly hatred which must spring up between the two great nations... that we should continue under the same political system... Abolition and the Union cannot coexist... We of the South will not, cannot, surrender our institutions... Never before has the black race of Central Africa, from the dawn of history to the present day, ,attained a condition so civilized and so improved, ,not only physically, but morally and intellectually..."

          "But I take higher ground. I hold that in the present state of civilization,  where two races of different origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slave holding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good - a positive good..."

Source:  Speech by John C. Calhoun, Slavery: a Positive Good (February 6, 1837).


Source:  The Anti-Slavery Record Vol. 2, No. 9.


The Citizens of Cincinnati, embracing every
class, interested in the prosperity of the city, sat fled that the business of the place is receiving threats from the wicked and misguided operations of the abolitionists, are resolved to arrest their course.  The destruction of their Press on the night of the 12th Instant, may be taken as a warning.  As there are some worthy citizens engaged in the unholy cause of annoying our southern neighbors, they are appealed to, to pause before they bring things to a crisis.  If an attempt is made to re-establish their press, it will be viewed as an act of defiance to an already outraged community,  and on their heads be the result which will follow.

Every kind of expostulation and remonstrance has been resorted to in vain -- longer patience would be criminal.  The plan is matured to eradicate an evil which every citizen feels is understanding his business and property.

Source:  Notice Posted in Cincinnati, 1836.

      "The negro slaves of the South are the happiest... freest people in the world. The children and the aged and infirm work not at all, and yet have all the comforts and necessaries of life provided for them... The women do little hard work, and are protected from the despotism of their husbands by their masters. The negro men and stout boys work... no more than nine hours a day... they have their Sabbaths and holidays... negroes luxuriate in corporeal and mental repose... The free laborer must work or starve. He is more of a slave than the negro, because he works longer and harder for less allowance than the slave... He has no liberty and not a single right..."
Source:  George Fitzhugh, The Blessings of Slaver, 1857.

        "It is well known that Northern gentleman who marry Southern heiresses are much severer masters than Southern gentlemen... There may be many cruel masters, and there are unkind and cruel fathers too; but both the one and the other make all those around them shudder with horror..."

          "Every one acquainted with Southern slaves knows that the slave rejoices in the elevation and prosperity of his master; and the heart of no one is more gladdened at the successful debut of the young master or miss on the great theater of the world than that of either the young slave who has grown up with them and shared in all their sports, and even partaken of all their delicacies, or the aged one who has looked on and watched them from birth to manhood, with the kindest and most affectionate solicitude, and has ever met from them all the kind treatment and generous sympathies of feeling, tender hearts..."

Source:  Thomas R. Dew Defends Slavery, 1852.


 Copy Right Secured by ALFRED GALE, Asbury, New Jersey

Source:  Pictorial Illustration of Abolitionism. ITS RISE PROGRESS AND END. Vol. II.--Pictorial History of the cause of the great Rebellion.

 Total Number of Slaves per State in the United States, 1830s

States                         Number of Slaves
Alabama                                                       117,549
Arkansas                                                           4,576
  Connecticut                                                            25   Delaware                                                          3,292
Georgia                                                         217,531
Illinois                                                                    747
Indiana                                                                      3
Kentucky                                                       165,213
Louisiana                                                      109,588
Maine                                                                        2
Maryland                                                       102,994
Massachusetts                                                         1
Michigan                                                                 32
Mississippi                                                      65,659
Missouri                                                           25,096
New Hampshire                                                        3
New Jersey                                                        2,254
New York                                                                 75
North Carolina                                              245,601
Ohio                                                                           6
Pennsylvania                                                        403
Rhode Island                                                           17
South Carolina                                              315,401
Tennessee                                                    141,603
Vermont                                                                     0
Virginia                                                          469,757
TOTAL                                         1,987,428

Source:  U.S. Census Bureau




        To some defenders of slavery, the best way to attack the abolitionists was to argue that their real agenda was, or at any rate the real effect of their agitation would be, to create a society in which interracial marriage became the norm. There was little in abolitionist rhetoric to justify this argument, and the anti-amalgamationists had to ignore all the evidence of miscegenation under slavery. Nor was the argument received by whites with anything like the popularity of Dixon's and Griffiths' narratives about rampant black sexuality early in the 20th century. But this archive would be incomplete without an example of the way the anti-slavery movement provoked the racist protests of writers like the anonymous author of this novel. His account of the horror of racial mingling is full of lines to make modern readers wince, but it probably spoke for and to a number of readers in its time. How many we can't tell, though the fact that "Bolokitten" had to pay for the book's publication himself suggests not many.
Source:  A Sojourn in the City of Amalgamation, in the Year of Our Lord 18--, by "Oliver Bolokitten, Esq." (pseudonym), 1835.



The whole slavery question is just a matter of a small religiously based minority trying to impose its morality on everybody. The northern Congregationalist, Unitarian and Quaker preachers draw huge crowds with their anti-choice sermons, but theirs is not the only Christian view.

In the south, the Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist denominations strongly support a person's right to own slaves. Who are Henry Ward Beecher and his fellow agitators to impose their own views on so many other unwilling Christians?

The law does not say that a person must own slaves. It is a matter of choice. Those who believe slavery is wrong need not participate in it, but they have no right to prevent others from doing so.

The anti-choice forces say that a slave is a full human being with all the rights of white people. The Supreme Court says otherwise. In the Dred Scott decision, the court clearly stated that Negroes are not equal and that slaves are not entitled to full civil rights. If the anti-choice forces are allowed to alter the Constitution to change Dred Scott, will any of our rights be safe? If they can take away the right to own slaves, they can take away any right. It is a Pandora's box to change the Constitution or overturn established legal precedent.

And what of the cost of emancipation? There are already many poor citizens, and resources are scarce. Can we afford the economic havoc that would be wrought by suddenly destroying the Southern economy and creating millions of new free citizens? The world is much more complicated than the simplistic anti-choice slogans indicate.

Also, isn't it maddening that so many of the anti-choice leaders will never even have to face the slavery issue on a personal level? Virtually all of them come from states with only minuscule black populations (true in 1859). They will not have to live with the economic and social burdens their policies will cause those in slave-holding regions.

Clearly, the anti-choice forces are frustrated by their inability to abolish the right to legal slavery. Unable to win by democratic means, they have resorted to violence and murder in Kansas, Missouri and Harper's Ferry, Virginia. Will we allow fanatics like John Brown to determine public policy in this country?

The majority of Americans do not support abolition of the right to free choice in the matter of slavery (also true for 1859). That majority must be heard. Remember, we are not pro-slavery, we are just pro-choice!

Source:  Ray Warren, a Charlotte attorney and former member of the state House from Mecklenburg County, NC, 1859.




Doc. A: Aptheker, Herbert. Abolitionism: A Revolutionary Movement. Boston, Twayne Publishers, 1989

Doc. B: Litwack, Leon F. North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free States 1790-1860. Chicago, The   University of Chicago Press, 1961

Doc. C: Washington and Lee University. "The American Civil War and Its Relationship to Slavery." %20Helper,%20The%20Impending%20Crisis (March 18, 2002)

Doc. D: R.A.L.P.H. (The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities) Lolita Lark, Editor-In-Chief. “A History of The Defense of Slavery In America” (January 25, 2002)

Doc. E: Assumption College. “Slavery a Positive Good” (January 29, 2002)

Doc. F & G: Railton, Stephen; the University of Virginia.  “The Pro-slavery Riot in Cincinnati” (January 29, 2002)

Doc. H: Author Unknown. “The Blessings of Slavery” chapter13/medialib/primarysources1_13_2.html (January 30, 2002)

Doc. I: W.W. Norton & Company – College Books. “Thomas R. Dew Defends Slavery” (January 30, 2002)

Doc. J: American Memory – Library of Congress. “An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera” rbpe100/10004700/rbpe10004700page.db&recNum=0&itemLink=D? rbpebib:3183:./temp/~ammem_9C1n::&linkText=0 (January 29, 2002)

Doc. K: U.S. Census Bureau. “Population of the United States (1830)” (January 29, 2002)

Doc. LA Sojourn in the City of Amalgamation, in the Year of Our Lord 18--, by "Oliver Bolokitten, Esq." (pseudonym). New York: Published by the Author, 1835.

Doc. M: Ray Warren, The News and Observer, Raleigh, NC, 1859.  <>

  • Currie, Stephen.  Slavery.  San Diego, Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1999
  • Grant, Douglas.  The Fortunate Slave: An Illustration of African Slavery in the Early Eighteenth Century. London, Oxford University Press, 1968
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Adrienne Novak
Maria Regina H. S.
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