Radical Actions Of Abolitionis Essay, Research Paper
DBQ: Radical Actions of Abolitionists
Thesis: By 1836 the abolitionists acted radically by demanding an immediate end to slavery and recognition of equality.
Written for Document Based Question section on the Advanced Placement U.S. History Exam.
Radical Actions of Abolitionists
Before 1836, the abolition movement was restricted to a few northern radicals. However, organized societies and effective campaigning, increased northern support against slavery while free blacks used their freedom to organize slave resistance in the South. By 1836 the abolitionists acted radically by demanding an immediate end to slavery and recognition of equality.
In 1836, radical abolitionists pressed for immediate emancipation instead of gradual freedom through the restricting the expansion of slavery and slave trade. Abolitionists such as Henry Highland Garnet called slaves to rise up and secure liberty with resistance. The American Anti-Slavery Society distributed pamphlets throughout the North to gain support for emancipation. In The Liberator (Document D), Garrison expresses the radical idea that there is need for severity to end slavery immediately. Document E insists that it is within the best interest of abolitionist to act immediately, while Document F calls for immediate abolition, because slavery is a sin. By introducing the idea that slavery is immoral, abolitionists radicalized the movement.
The movement was radicalized even further with abolitionist rejection of colonization. Blacks believed that the prosperity of the United States was due to their own hard work. According to David Walker’s, Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World, America is more the blacks country than it is the whites. (Document C) The radical abolitionists of 1836, rejected colonization as described in Document A.
Also, abolitionist began to demand racial equality in addition to emancipation. The idea that blacks were equal to whites was extreme, because racism was still very strong even among the anti-slavery North. Peter Williams’ request for equal privileges and end to prejudices (Document B) was not supported by most of the north, who supported emancipation not because they believed in racial equality, but because they felt slavery was an unjust Southern advantage. Most of the North was not ready for such a radical step forward towards racial equality.
While the abolitionist movement turned radical in 1836, many abolitionists remained conservative. Many abolitionists still supported the American Colonization Society. Unfortunately, because some abolitionists became radical, the movement separated. This separation my have weakened the anti-slavery movement as a whole.