Lydia Maria Child

by Lydia Maria Francis

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How did Lydia Maria Child describe the spirit of slavery in the North?

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Lydia Maria Child argued that the spirit of slaver manifested itself in the North because they still kept former slaves in inferior positions, and white men held all privilege in American society

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Hailing from Massachusetts, Child was a northerner in the years leading up to the Civil War. She became a very strong abolitionist as a young adult and used her voice as a well-known author to fight against injustices of many kinds, including slavery. Even though slavery was not allowed in...

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the North by the time Child joined the abolitionist movement, she resisted the inequality and lack of freedom she felt existed for Black people, as well as women and Native Americans, in America. She called for cultural change.

Child openly and boldly addressed the spirit of slavery that seemed to still exist in the North, as White men seemed to be the only group with great privilege; to Child, the social, political, and educational limits for all others were unacceptable. She was a staunch supporter of William Lloyd Garrison. As a leader in the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, she joined many in highlighting how Black people, women, and all minorities were enslaved in a societal hierarchy that limited their voting rights, educational and occupational opportunities, and overall advancement. Freed Black people in the north could not vote and were often prevented from gaining access to higher education and many professions.

Child believed that women and men, of all races and color, were equal and should have the same opportunities to learn, work, and live alongside one another in society. Her stances and beliefs were not always received well in the North, and she fought for her voice to be heard in order to exact real change in the nation. Child did not exempt or excuse the North from its own history of slavery, and she illuminated how slavery deeply scarred the social, familial, political, and moral landscape of the entire nation.

After the Civil War ended, Child was a strong advocate for equal voting rights for all, especially former slaves and women. Although slavery was abolished, Child challenged the pervasive spirit of slavery in the form of racism and elitism which still existed in the nation, including the North, for many years. She exposed the manner in which many former slaves were still limited by previous masters (and other white men), especially through laws and tradition.

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