How did conflicts over gender and race shape the development of the abolitionist movement in the 1830s and 1840s?

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Throughout much of their histories, the women's rights movement and abolitionism were closely aligned. Both were concerned with expanding the American notion of freedom and liberty to all people. When William Lloyd Garrison founded the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833, women became a large contingent of the nascent society. That...

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Throughout much of their histories, the women's rights movement and abolitionism were closely aligned. Both were concerned with expanding the American notion of freedom and liberty to all people. When William Lloyd Garrison founded the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833, women became a large contingent of the nascent society. That same year, the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society was founded to promote the rights of African Americans as well as those of women. Numerous other women-led abolitionist societies sprang up around this time. Many women felt that their cause of liberation was not all that different from that of the slave.

This is not to say that there was no misogyny within the abolitionist movement. By the end of the 1830s, abolitionism had fractured over the issue of female inclusion. Many abolitionist men scoffed at the idea of having women in influential positions. The American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society broke away from the American Anti-Slavery Society when Abby Kelley became part of the business committee. This new abolitionist group did not allow women to be full members. The Liberty Party was founded in 1840 and also did not allow women to become members. Overall, divisions over the inclusion of women prevented the abolitionists from presenting a united front. Misogyny led to factionalism within the movement.

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