Lucretia Mott's Heresy: Abolition and Women's Rights in Nineteenth-Century America

By Carol Faulkner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Crisis

ON NOVEMBER 5, 1840, the Pennsylvania Freeman reported that Lucretia Mott had addressed a few remarks to a recent meeting of the Female Vigilance Committee “in such a manner that her hearers wished they had been extended.” Associated with David Ruggles’s New York Vigilance Committee, the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee, founded in 1837, assumed responsibility for hiding, feeding, clothing, and finding transportation for runaways. Robert Purvis was president of the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee as well as a member of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, while Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society members Hester Reckless, Sarah McCrummell, and Margaretta Forten were active in the female auxiliary.1

If Mott received a warm reception from the African American women of the Female Vigilance Committee, she had become a divisive figure in the wake of the World’s Anti-Slavery Convention. Mott’s fame (or infamy, in some circles) grew. In the face of ideological and strategic challenges to Garrisonian abolitionism, Mott became a pure partisan. She battled other members of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society over whether to aid fugitive slaves, consume free produce, or endorse third party politics. Meanwhile, she engaged in her own delicate balance between her expansive interest in women’s rights and her commitment to abolitionism.

Amid this crisis in the anti-slavery movement, Lucretia focused her critique on the close relationship between American religion and slavery. In a strategy known as “come-outerism,” many abolitionists—especially female abolitionists—left denominations that failed to denounce the sin of slavery. In contrast, Mott fought attempts to have her censored or disowned, choosing

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Lucretia Mott's Heresy: Abolition and Women's Rights in Nineteenth-Century America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction- Heretic and Saint 1
  • Chapter 1- Nantucket 8
  • Chapter 2- Nine Partners 25
  • Chapter 3- Schism 41
  • Chapter 4- Immediate Abolition 60
  • Chapter 5- Pennsylvania Hall 75
  • Chapter 6- Abroad 87
  • Chapter 7- Crisis 109
  • Chapter 8- The Year 1848 127
  • Chapter 9- Conventions 148
  • Chapter 10- Fugitives 161
  • Chapter 11- Civil War 176
  • Chapter 12- Peace 197
  • Epilogue 213
  • Notes 219
  • Index 265
  • Acknowledgments 289
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