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Harriet Beecher Stowe

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A National Treasure

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Study Questions

Why did Harriet Beecher Stowe initially oppose the abolitionist movement in Cincinnati?

When they first arrived in Cincinnati, Harriet Beecher Stowe and her father Lyman believed the abolitionists, by promoting the forceful emancipation of slaves, were inciting counterviolence. Their fervor, the Beechers believed, would only cause the South to dig in their heels further, and make emancipation even more difficult. Later, when Harriet visited her brother and sister-in-law, who were both heavily involved in abolitionist activities, she was exposed to the intricacies of abolitionist thinking and soon realized that force might be the only viable option left to those who wanted to see slavery abolished.

Why did Harriet Beecher Stowe write "The Reply", addressed the women of Britain?

During the Civil War, Britain indicated that it was leaning towards recognizing the Confederacy as a nation, and planned on extending diplomatic relations. Harriet, who had traveled to England a few years previously, and had been greeted by throngs of anti-slavery supporters, was deeply troubled by this. Her disappointment was made even more acute by the fact that during that trip to England, she'd been presented with a set of over 550,000 signatures from British women, swearing their solidarity with the anti-slavery cause. However, as Britain considered recognizing the Confederacy, they did not protest. Harriet found this lack of protest reprehensible, and penned this sharp rebuke. Lincoln considered its appearance one of the main reasons why Britain never recognized the Confederacy as a nation.

Essay Questions

Explain the concept of popular sovereignty and its relevance to the question of slavery

What were the implications of the Kansas-Nebraska Act?

How and why did Uncle Tom's Cabin affect the United States when it was published?

What kinds of things did Harriet Beecher Stowe observe during her visit to a Kentucky plantation and how did her visit affect her social views, and how did it help shape the composition of Uncle Tom's Cabin?

How did Harriet Beecher Stowe best believe emancipation should be handled?

Explain how the 1850 Compromise affected the slave debate.

Why did Harriet Beecher Stowe's books fall out of favor in the early to mid Twentieth Century?

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