Uncle Tom's Cabin

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In the year 1852, nine short years before the civil war began in 1861, Harriet Stowe published arguably the most influential, groundbreaking, and controversial books in American history, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The novel drew widespread criticism for the depiction of African Americans and slaves in a time when the United States of America was teetering on civil unrest due to the strength of the opposing views between the North and the South. The rapid expansion and growth the United States throughout the 19th century had led to an increase in labor demands, and slavery was not only viable but also essential to the economic prosperity of the southern states. The argument over slavery was wrestled with for the entire history of the young nation, and the late mid-1800’s brought the country to a crossroads. The publishing of Uncle Tom’s Cabin stirred the emotions of the country over whether or not African Americans are equal, if they should be free, and what should be done about slavery.
At the one of the earliest points in American history, the roots of slavery began to take hold in Jamestown, Virginia in the year 1619 (“Slavery in America”). The reasoning behind owning slaves was selfish, and simple; slavery provided cheap, dispensable laborers that could survive tremendous amounts of abuse, and needed very little to survive. Before the use of slaves, Europeans relied heavily on indentured servants, individuals who owed a debt and thus traveled to the new world to work off the debt for a certain number of years until they would be freed. This left wealthy individuals who held the servants in a constant struggle of bringing in more workers, but slavery provided a remedy for this issue. For decades, slavery spread and grew throughout the...

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