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The Influence of Harriet Beecher Stowe´s Novel: Uncle Tom´s Cabin

“Is this the little woman who made this great war?” Lincoln said as he greeted the renowned author, Harriet Beecher Stowe. This abolitionist writer created her famous novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, in response to the Fugitive Slave Law and the politics about slavery in the South. Some Americans even believed that Stowe and her book brought on The Civil War (Reynolds). Because of this, Harriet needed a way to attract more citizens into the anti-slavery cause. With her book, Stowe showed everyone the truth about slavery, even though not everyone agreed with her. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin left imprints on many 19th century Americans, which helped to strengthen the abolitionist movement, yet divided the nation.

The popularity of Uncle Tom’s Cabin during the 1850’s, contributed to the growing strength of anti-slavery in general. By turns sentimental and realistic, Harriet’s story appealed strongly to 19th-century readers. As stated by McGuire, Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the first book by an American author to have its main protagonist as an African American. How was this tiny novel so well-known? “Stowe knew how to appeal to a wide audience. She skillfully used images from virtually every realm of culture--including religion, sensational pulp fiction, and popular entertainment--and brought them together in memorable characters and two compelling anti-slavery plot lines” (Reynolds). Perhaps these were the reasons why the book sold more than 300,000 copies in its first year, as stated by McGuire. By 1852, Uncle Tom's Cabin broke all previous sales records for American novels (Goldner). As soon as word got out about this new, upcoming story, almost every anti-slavery supporter wanted to read it! In 1852 the Literacy ...

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... be crucial in American History during the Civil War. Harriet Beecher Stowe imprinted American minds and left a world-wide legacy that would last centuries.

Works Cited

Bragg, Melvyn, perf. "Uncle Tom." Prod. Natasha Maw. In Our Time. BBC: 08 06 06. Radio.

Goldner, Ellen J. "Arguing With Pictures: Race, Class, And The Formation Of Popular
Abolitionism Through Uncle Tom's Cabin." Journal Of American & Comparative
Cultures 24.1/2 (2001): 71-84. Academic Search Elite. Web. 23 Jan. 2014.

McGuire, William, and Leslie Wheeler. "Harriet Beecher Stowe." American History.
ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 23 Jan. 2014

Reynolds, David S. "1852: did a novel start the Civil War? Published 160 years ago,
Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin captivated--and bitterly divided—
America." New York Times Upfront 2 Jan. 2012: 24+. Global Issues in Context.
Web. 23 Jan. 2014.
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