The Neglected Period of Anti-Slavery in America, 1808-1831

The Neglected Period of Anti-Slavery in America, 1808-1831

The Neglected Period of Anti-Slavery in America, 1808-1831

The Neglected Period of Anti-Slavery in America, 1808-1831

Excerpt

This monograph is the result of research work done under the direction of Professor Albert Bushnell Hart, Ph.D., of Harvard University, during 1898-1899, and in the intervals of other work, in 1902-1904. The work was undertaken with the simple purpose of gaining inspiration, and help in methods, from association with one so justly famed in historical circles, with no idea of any further result. A study of the period, 1808-1831, however, showed such a wealth of material, and reversed so many of the ideas prevalent among historians, that the results have been put into permanent form with the hope that the work may prove of some material aid to other students and writers of history.

The period 1808-1831 has most commonly, perhaps, received the name of "the Period of Stagnation." It is credited with no aggressive anti-slavery work; it is rarely credited with even real anti-slavery sentiment of any sort. The anti-slavery workers are said to have trusted that the abolition of the African slave trade would do all the work necessary for the benefit of the slave, even to his ultimate emancipation, until William Lloyd Garrison with his trumpet-blast waked the sleepers and began the new era, whose history is familiar to all.

While it is not to be denied that in some sections of the country there was considerable ground for such a characterization of the period, it is not in reality a fair one for all sections, nor for the entire period. Investigation has shown anti-slavery sentiment where none was suspected; anti-slavery labors where none had been heard of; even appeals for immediate and universal emancipation and violent denunciation of slavery, in a "period of stagnation."

So much material has been found which has always been available to one who could spend the time in its search, and the conclusions which one must inevitably draw from the study of the material are so opposite to prevailing opinions, that the period . . .

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