Colonization and Its Discontents: Emancipation, Emigration, and Antislavery in Antebellum Pennsylvania

Colonization and Its Discontents: Emancipation, Emigration, and Antislavery in Antebellum Pennsylvania

Colonization and Its Discontents: Emancipation, Emigration, and Antislavery in Antebellum Pennsylvania

Colonization and Its Discontents: Emancipation, Emigration, and Antislavery in Antebellum Pennsylvania

Excerpt

Pennsylvania offers an excellent lens through which to view the changes that took place within the American antislavery community from the founding era to the ultimate achievement of emancipation during the Civil War. First is the fact that unlike other antislavery strongholds such as Massachusetts and New York, Pennsylvania contained strong chapters of three major antislavery groups—the “gradualists” of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society (PAS), the colonizationists of the Pennsylvania Colonization Society (PCS), and the “immediatists” or “modern” abolitionists of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society (PASS). Second, the state’s abolitionist legacy and its geographical location as a northern border state created an intellectual and social environment that gave its colonization chapter a particularly strong support base.

What resulted from these two factors was a complicated antislavery network that interacted on a regular basis. Though some historians have described gradualists as “emancipationists” rather than ““abolitionists,” none has questioned the sincerity of either gradualist or immediatist efforts to end human bondage. The historical assessment of colonizationists, in contrast, has been mixed. Thus, my first goal in describing the complexities of the overall antislavery movement is to show that colonization, at least in Pennsylvania, was undoubtedly an antislavery movement, and it remained a key part of the antislavery landscape throughout the nineteenth century.

Colonization drew antislavery support from two main sources. First, some reformers who followed the movement did so because they saw . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.