Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe

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“So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war!” is one of the most famous quotes said by President Abraham Lincoln to Harriet Beecher Stowe regarding the Civil War and her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. But was she really an abolitionist? Uncle Tom’s Cabin brought about great social change. With harsh visions of brutal slave beatings, it is hard to not feel compassion for the slaves. Uncle Tom’s Cabin became extremely popular in the North. According to the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, after the first year it had already sold 300,000 copies. Uncle Tom’s Cabin appalled many people and was considered inaccurate by southern plantation owners yet it sold thousands of copies (HBS Center 7).

Uncle Tom’s Cabin takes place in several places in the south in the pre-Civil War era. It follows two main groups of people who are Tom, and then Eliza and George Harris and their son Henry (who are all black slaves). George is sold to an evil master so he runs away to the north and was soon joined by Eliza when she learns her son and Tom are to be sold because their master has debts. After a dramatic escape, they meet in a Quaker village and together they escape to Canada and eventually Africa. Tom does not run away with Eliza and Henry though, making the choice to be sold as a good slave would do. While on a boat to the slave auction, Tom rescues Eva, a pure white girl, when she falls overboard. Her father then buys him and Tom lives some peaceful years on their plantation and learning about God from the spiritual Eva. Upon Eva’s death and her father’s shortly after, Tom is sold to a new cruel master. This master does not understand why Tom has stayed true to his religion and therefore has an instant dislik...

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Works Cited

Ohio History Central, "Uncle Tom's Cabin", July 1, 2005,



Teaching Aid from HBSC


Crawford, S. National Bureau of Economic Research, (1991). The slave family: a view from the slave narratives (OEI-0-226-30112-5). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/books/gold92-1



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The Formation of the American Colonization Society

Henry Noble Sherwood

The Journal of Negro History

Vol. 2, No. 3 (Jul., 1917), pp. 209-228

Published by: Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc.

Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2713765

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