In 1852, Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published. In the first year Uncle Tom’s Cabin sold 300,000 copies, which was a big shock to the people of the United States considering the topic of the book and that of slaves being main characters. What also came as a shock to the people, was that it was written by Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe a white woman who has never owned a slave in her life. The book appealed not only to the people’s emotions, but also their intellect. It informed people, especially in the north, about how harsh a slave’s life was. Stowe gave her book “realistic futures, by showing that not all slave owners were bad, but that there were few slave owners that did care about their slaves.” The south was furious about how slave’s lives were portrayed in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and “denounced the book as a slanderous.” This soon made Uncle Toms Cabin’s one of the most influential anti-slavery book ever written. Uncle Tom’s Cabin helped start the civil war by contributing to the division between the north and south in the United States. Uncle Tom’s Cabin helped the north feel more sympathetic towards the corrupted slave trade industry, which raised more questions about if slavery should be abolished in all parts of the United States.
I never thought that I would read a book over the summer, but over the course of these past two months, that changed. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” forever changed how I view slavery. I loved reading it. Throughout the whole novel, Stowe uses her experience and knowledge to portray the terrible hardships and struggles that slaves endured everyday. Not only does this book express the thoughts of the slaves and their faith in God, but also of the people around them. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” wanted so badly for America to give freedom and equality for all people, and that is what I enjoyed most while reading.
Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin
Published in the early 1850’s, Uncle Tom’s Cabin had a huge impact on our nation and contributed to the tension over slavery. It was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, a woman who was involved in religious and feminist causes. Stowe’s influence on the northern states was remarkable. Her fictional novel about slave life of her current time has been thought to be one of the main things that led up to the Civil War. The purpose of writing it, as is often said, was to expose the evils of slavery to the North where many were unaware of just what went on in the rest of the country.
Harriet Beecher Stowe may not be the most famous name in our nation’s history, nor the face one pictures when someone mentions “American literature”, but she is still one of the most influential writers of American history and continues to make an impact today. She was one of the most important authors in our history, all because of a book she wrote called Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The reason why Harriet Beecher Stowe was one of the most important people in United States’ history was because of her contribution to the outbreak and even the resolution of the Civil War by characterizing the battle and immorality of slavery in her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, while gaining support (and hatred) from across the world.
Invitation to Heaven
“I would not attack the faith of a heathen without being sure I had a better one to put in its place.” (Harriet Beecher Stowe)
Harriet Beecher Stowe is an author during the 1800’s, who was well known for promoting the abolition of slavery. After the fugitive slave law was passed by congress in 1850, she actively challenged slavery by writing the novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Uncle Tom’s cabin instantly became a bestseller in the United States. Through the novel, Stowe was able to express her opinions and debunk many myths about how African Americans were treated as slaves.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was the second best selling novel in 1852 and the first widely read political novel. Her novel is considered by some to be the starting point of the Civil War because of the intense conflict between the North and the South reflected through the book. It was reported that during a conversation between President Lincoln and Stowe, Lincoln addressed her as the “little woman...that started this great war”(Gordon-Reed 1). This suggests that Stowe’s novel was so compelling that it sparked a war. The North and South had extremely different views on how the issue of slavery should be addressed. Stowe observed the different viewpoints of Americans at this time as well as the different types of slaves and their perspectives and wove them into her novel. In Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the arguments of the Northern and Southern treatment of slaves, Stowe’s outreach to the compassionate nature of women, and Stowe’s credibility emerge, proving she had an important impact on this period in our history.
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” opened the eyes of millions of people worldwide. The book portrayed the brutal life of the black slaves. It went on to sell millions of copies and was given the title “The Greatest Book of the Age”. (pg. 616) It is had been commented that this book had helped “lay the groundwork for the Civil War”, according to Will Kaufman, and is widely regarded to one of the reasons of the Civil War. Langston Hughes refers to this book as a "moral battle cry for freedom." The characters in her book debated the causes of slavery, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the future of freed persons, individualism and racism. The Civil War arose from a combination of causes counting regional conflicts between the Southern and Northern states, economic forces, and humanitarian concerns for the welfare of enslaved people. The four year war opposed one section of the country against each other and nearly rescinded the United States of America. It is no wonder why when Abraham Lincoln met Stowe, he responded that she was “the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war” and I would agree with that statement of his. Whether this is true or not, the gush highlights the public linking between Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Civil War.
Harriet Beecher Stowe and Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe was born on June 14, 1811. Her father was Lyman Beecher, pastor of the Congregational Church in Harriet’s hometown of Litchfield, Connecticut. Harriet’s brother was Henry Ward Beecher who became pastor of Brooklyn’s Plymouth Church. The religious background of Harriet’s family and of New England taught Harriet several traits typical of a New Englander: theological insight, piety, and a desire to improve humanity (Columbia Electronic Library; “Biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe”).
Harriet studied and assisted as a teacher at the Western Female Institute, a school in Hartford, Connecticut, that her sister Catherine had founded.
Overall, Uncle Tom's Cabin was well written, organized, and historically accurate. Harriet Beecher Stowe used her knowledge of the past to write a clear argument for the abolition of slavery, by creating an interesting enough book to get her ideas to the common people. Her book was influential because it not only told her ideas, but because it states her ideas understandably, something not all writers are able to do.
Slavery was a very divisive and controversial issue throughout the country during the antebellum period. For most of the new country of the United States, the spread of slavery was highly contested and debated. Most Americans disagreed with the practice of slavery, but many did not think emancipation was the answer. However, in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a narrative describing the evils and malpractices of slavery. This novel changed the public opinion of forced servitude which ultimately had a significant effect on the already sectionalist nation. Although most southern slave owners disagreed with her opinion, Harriet Beecher Stowe accurately represented the practice of slavery in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.