How was Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe used in the slavery abolition movement?

Expert Answers
pnhancock eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The popularity of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin helped galvanize the slavery abolition movement just prior to the Civil War. The novel focused on the impact of slavery on individuals, adding a personal element to the national conversation about the political and economic impacts of abolishing slavery. It provided perspective on the experiences of enslaved families and mothers to free white readers who may not have previously considered the humanity of enslaved people. This emotional appeal to abolitionism became an important part of the anti-slavery movement just before the beginning of the Civil War.

Another impact of the novel was the development of Christian theology as an argument against slavery. Stowe's argument resonated with readers because she thoroughly explored the nature of Christianity as it relates to slavery, concluding that Christianity is incompatible with enslaving people. This interpretation added another layer to the argument against slavery and gave the abolitionist movement another argument for the immediate abolition of slavery. The novel's popularity during a time of tension between slavery supporters and abolitionists added emotional and religious elements to the conversation, galvanizing abolitionists to begin resisting the institution of slavery.

Read the study guide:
Uncle Tom's Cabin

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question