· A social movement organized in the North to abolish
the institution of slavery, upon which the economy of the South depended.
The movement was strongest, and gained most of its influence, during
the three decades preceding the Civil War
· The term used to describe the government established
by the Southern states that had seceded from the Union. Its president was
Jefferson Davis, and it was dissolved after the South's surrender
Industrial Revolution -
· The social and economic upheaval that went along with
the transition from an agriculturally based economy to one based more
on machinery and factories. The industrial revolution took place
mainly from 1860–1890 in New England, as Southern states were rebuilding
their devastated cities after the Civil War.
Popular sovereignty -
· A doctrine promoted by Stephen Douglas in which the
legality of slavery in U.S. territories not yet states is determined
by settlers living there. It was utilized as a way of appeasing
both sides of the slavery debate. It was ambiguous, however, since
people disagreed at which point in a territory's development this decision
should be made.
· The Christian denomination into which Harriet Beecher
Stowe was born, Presbyterianism embodies Calvinist principles and opposes
state interference in ecclesiastical affairs.
Underground Railroad -
· A loose organization of Northern abolitionists and
free blacks who harbored runaway slaves and facilitated their escape
from slavery to freedom in Northern industrial cities, or in Canada. During
the mid-nineteenth century, harboring a runaway slave was a federal
offense, and the Underground Railroad a subversive organization.
After the Dred Scott decision in the Supreme Court, many of the
Beecher siblings became active participants in the Underground
Women's suffrage -
· During the mid to late nineteenth century, the idea
of women's rights and the right for women to vote was almost comical
to both men and women in America. However, earlier pioneers of women's
suffrage-a woman's right to vote-were impassioned and, by necessity,
courageous. Stowe's sister Isabella was a suffragist.
Catharine Beecher, born in 1800, was the eldest of
the Beecher children. A pioneer in field of women's education,
Catharine founded one of the first schools for young women in Hartford,
Connecticut in 1824. When the Beechers moved to Cincinnati, she
founded another school there. Before she died, she'd found and build
a number of institutions of higher learning for women. Despite
her fervent belief in education for women, she opposed women's suffrage.
She died in 1878.
Born in 1813, Harriet
Beecher Stowe's favorite brother, Henry Ward, was the second most famous
Beecher in America–which meant he was very well known indeed. Considered
one of the most famous clergymen in American history, Henry Ward Beecher
was, like his sister, a fierce opponent of slavery and a proponent
of women's rights. He died in 1887.
Harriet Beecher Stowe's youngest sister (half-sister)
and an early pioneer for women's rights
Lyman Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe's father, was
a complex man-on the one hand a very strict and conscientious Presbyterian
who was a firm teetotaler, but on the other hand was considered
so socially liberal by his Cincinnati congregation that he was
tried for heresy.
famous abolitionist who favored emancipation of the slaves through
force, he led the legendary raid at Harper's Ferry on October sixteen,
1859. He, along with twenty-one followers, captured the U.S. arsenal
at Harper's Ferry in Virginia. A company of U.S. Marines, led by
Robert E. Lee, regained control of the arsenal and Brown was wounded
in the scuffle. The event startled the South and Brown's placid
demeanor during his trial won him fans in the North. When he was
hanged at Charlestown on December 2nd, 1859, he was, to many in
the North, a martyr.
of Harriet Beecher Stowe's favorite poets as a young girl, Lord
Byron is, along with Keats and Shelley, considered one of the best
of the Romantic poets. He was, also, a brilliant satirist. His
personal life sometimes eclipsed his considerable talents-his alleged affair
with his half sister, Augusta Lee, was a source of great pain to
Harriet Beecher Stowe's great friend and Byron's ex- wife, Lady
Byron. Her decision to reveal this transgression-supposedly kept
a secret for many years by Lady Byron-was disastrous.
Isabella Milbanke was a famous recluse by the time Harriet Beecher
Stowe met the famous poet's widow during a visit to England in
1856. The two women became extremely close and, for the rest of
her life, Harriet Beecher Stowe felt it her duty to defend Lady
Byron from criticism, most notably from one of Byron's many mistresses,
Countess Teresa Guiccioli, who wrote about her affair with Byron
and denigrated Lady Byron in the process.
Charles Dickens, arguably the most popular novelist
of the nineteenth century, was a respectful fan of Uncle
One of the most famous escaped slaves in U.S. history.
His successful escape from slavery in 1838 was documented in his
famous book, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,
was published in 1845. After gaining his freedom, he became a vocal abolitionist
and, during the Civil War, helped to organize two black regiments
in Massachusetts. After the war, he became, among other things,
the U.S. Minister to Haiti and and secretary of the Santo Domingo
Commission. He died in 1895.
Eliot was the pseudonym of Marian Evans, a gifted English novelist
who, like George Sand, was not part of genteel English society
due to her lifestyle choices. She was a fan of Harriet Beecher
Stowe's work and, despite the fact that she, like Sand, lived openly with
a man who was not her husband and denounced organized religion,
Stowe did meet her, and the two became fast friends.
The sixteenth president of the United States, Lincoln
oversaw what could be described as the most difficult period in
American history. Lincoln's election in 1860 was the cue the South
needed to begin seceding from the Union. He was assassinated by
John Wilkes Booth on April fourteen, 1865.
Sand was the pseudonym of French novelist Amantine Lucile Aurore
Dupin. A prodigious and controversial author-controversial for
her lifestyle more than for her works-George Sand was a great admirer
of Harriet Beecher Stowe's work. However, Stowe's French hosts
refused to set up a meeting between the two authors because Sand
was a social outcast due to her many public affairs with famous men
such as Chopin, and her tendency to wear men's clothes. She was
a critic of the double standard afforded men in eighteenth century
Calvin Stowe, Harriet
Beecher's husband, was a famous Biblical scholar, who specialized
in sacred literature. Always supportive of his wife, he found his
own literary success in 1868 with his bestseller Origin and
History of the Books of the Bible,
written at his wife's
Calvin and Harriet's youngest son. He wrote his mother's
biography in 1887.
Eliza Tyler Stowe
Calvin Ellis Stowe's first wife and one of Harriet's
Calvin and Harriet
Stowe's second son, a decorated Civil War soldier. Disappeared
Calvin and Harriet's eldest
daughter–had a twin named Hattie.
Second half of Calvin and Harriet's twin daughters.
Calvin and Harriet Stowe's
first son. Died at the age of seventeen.
Calvin and Harriet's second daughter.
Samuel Clemens in 1835 in the sleepy Mississippi river town of Hannibal,
Missouri, Mark Twain became one of America's favorite writers.
He was Harriet Beecher Stowe's next-door neighbor in Hartford,
Connecticut during the last years of her life, and was a congenial
visitor who cheered her with his jokes. His masterpiece, The
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,
published in 1884, is
considered by many to be the first modern American novel.
Civil War -
Conflict between the Northern union and the Southern
states, which seceded and formed the Confederacy. The war lasted
from 1861 to 1865 and was one of the bloodiest conflicts in U.S. history,
with over 600,000 deaths.
Dred Scott Case -
Officially, Scott v. Sanford, this case was argued before
the United States Supreme Court in 1856–1857. Dred Scott, a slave from
Missouri, accompanied his master to Illinois and then to the Wisconsin
territories, where slavery was illegal. When his master died, Scott
sued his master's widow for his and his family's freedom, stating
that because he was in a free state, he was no longer a slave.
The Supreme Court ruled against Scott, deciding, in the process,
that Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in new states and
Emancipation Proclamation -
Signed by Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862, and
put into effect January 1, 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation put
an end to slavery in the United States. In its wake, huge numbers
of freed slaves migrated to Northern cities.
Battle of Gettysburg -
A series of bloody battles in June and July of 1863 during
the Civil War. The Union Army lost 23,000 men in the battle and
the Confederacy lost 25,000.
Kansas-Nebraska Act -
A bill passed by Congress on May 30, 1854 by which the
Kansas and Nebraska territories became states. It intensified the
slave debate in America because it directly contradicted provisions
in the Missouri Compromise, which barred the extension of slavery
into new states. The legality of slavery, according to this new
law, would be decided by "popular sovereignty", or by the inhabitants
of the territory.
Lincoln-Douglas Debates -
A series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and
Stephen Douglas. At stake was the question of extending slavery
into the newly admitted states-notable, Nebraska and Kansas. Lincoln firmly
opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which left the decision about
whether or not slavery should be legal in the hands of the settlers
of that state. Douglas, who supported this bill, called this concept
popular sovereignty. Lincoln's success in these debates opened
the door for him to capture the presidential election of 1860.
Mexican War -
Conflict between the U.S. and Mexico between 1846 and
1848, sparked by the U.S. annexation of Texas in December 1845.
Nat Turner Rebellion -
Also called the Southampton Insurrection, this slave
insurrection was led by a Virginia slave named Nat Turner in 1831.
Turner, who believed himself meant by God to lead the rebellion, planned
a revolt along with about sixty other slaves. The group killed
Turner's owner's family and then went on to kill fifty-five other
whites. It led to a tightening of the existing slave laws in the South
and ended any hope of success for the burgeoning abolitionist movement
Panic of 1837 -
A financial crisis brought on by speculation and reckless
financial dealings in the Western territories.
1850 Compromise -
A series of legislative measures meant to assuage Southern
fears that slavery was on the way out, and to satisfy Northern
anti-slavery forces that slavery was not going to be extended.
Under this compromise, California was admitted as a free state,
New Mexico and Utah territories were organized without mention of
slavery-to be determined by popular sovereignty-and the prohibition
of slavery in the newly organized District of Columbia. In addition,
the fugitive slave laws were made more inflexible.