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Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin is one of the most famous and popular pieces of Civil War literature. It was drawn from selected pieces of a real life memoir done by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Uncle Tom's Cabin was a book that drew many people into the fight over the institution of slavery. Northerners hailed the book saying it exposed the truth, while southern slaveholders and plantation owners claimed that it had many falsehoods in it. President Lincoln, when he met Stowe called her, "the little lady who started this big war."

Originally planned for a series of short essays for the National Era (an abolitionist newspaper) in 1851-1852, Stowe gathered so much information, that is was too large for newspaper print, and was published originally by the Boston publishing company Jewett. Immediately it became a hot seller, with northerners and southerners alike. It sold more copies than any other piece of literature, with the exception of the Bible and soon Stowe was touring the United States and Europe to speak against slavery. Many argued that there were false reports in what she wrote because the slave owners were portrayed as heartless devilish men, and the slaves were portrayed as their victims. These were mostly Southern slave owners who believed they treated their slaves well and the slaves were happy. To respond to this, Stowe published A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin a year later, in 1853, to provide documentation of the truth upon which her novel is based.

Uncle Tom's Cabin tells a story of adversity in the struggle for freedom, a look into human cruelty as well as human compassion, and one man's loyalty to those he is indentured to. It is set in a period just before the Civil War; during the time when the black people of America were not citizens, but property and had no rights. In the south during this time, the blacks were forced to work hard labor on plantations and were required to live in small dorms outside of their owner's homes. However, the novel is more than just a narrative of slaves, but of human emotion rising up in the face of adversity. It is a story of the fight for freedom, and an account of the history of America. The author brings out the humanity in the slaves, and describes the great injustices that took place during the time.
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