Julie Roy Jeffrey’s, The Great Silent Army of Abolitionism Essays

Julie Roy Jeffrey’s, The Great Silent Army of Abolitionism Essays

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In Julie Roy Jeffrey’s, The Great Silent Army of Abolitionism, the main argument is that although many historians have only focused on the male influence towards eliminating slavery, it was actually women who were the driving force and backbone in abolitionism. Jeffrey explores the involvement of women, both and white, in the cause and used research from letters, societal records, and personal diary entries to delve into what the movement meant in their lives.
The first chapter of Jeffrey’s book is entitled “Recruiting Women into the Cause;” it goes into detail about how women first got involved in the abolitionist movement. This involvement mainly started in 1831 when women began submitting publications, such as poems, about anti-slavery in a newspaper, published by William Lloyd Garrison, entitled the Liberator. In 1832, Garrison started a women’s section/department in his newspaper in the hopes that it would encourage women to get involved. Garrison officially started his antislavery work in January 1831 and he urged parents to inform and teach their children about the evils of slavery. Many thought that abolitionism in women first started with the mothers who read antislavery nursery stories to their children.
Another aspect that brought many women into abolitionism was the play on their emotions. Although the stereotype of women being very emotional beings is extremely subjective, it is, more times than not, very true. And I, being a woman, can vouch for that idea, even though I would rather not admit to it. Garrison and his writers, knowing this, played to women’s emotions in the urge to get them more involved. And this notion later helped women bring others into the movement by using their own emotions to play on the h...


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The way that the author used personal diary entries in her book to illustrate the way that abolitionism affected the women’s lives was extremely effective and helpful in giving a more well-rounded and in-depth understanding of the event. Instead of making it very impersonal and formulaic, as many history books do, the reader got a peek into what these women really thought and how they felt. Therefore bringing out emotion in the reader. Also, this book covers all different types of women, i.e. racial, geographic, and social status differences.
This book gives a well-rounded picture of abolitionism in a way that not many have done before. And I think that if more historians did this, instead of making history very one-sided, it would eliminate some of the controversy of historiography.



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