Antislavery: The Crusade for Freedom in America

By Dwight Lowell Dumond | Go to book overview

PREFACE

/ THIS IS THE STORY of the classic contest between slavery and freedom in America. It is the story of a battle that made a continent tremble. ⇢ Slavery was the complete subjection by force of one person to the will of another, recognized and sustained by state law. Slavery was the subordination of nearly four million Negroes to the status of beasts of the field, insofar as possible, in a nation dedicated to freedom and equality for all men. Slavery was a deadly virus which twisted and distorted intellectual processes, social attitudes, and religious philosophy. It contaminated everything it touched from earliest colonial days until 1865. ⇢ The contest between slavery and the foundation principles of democracy began in the early eighteenth century and continues to the present time. Second-class citizenship is only a modified form of slavery. Both rest upon the barbaric, unscientific concept of racialism. The battle raged in constitutional conventions, legislative halls, courtrooms, churches, schools; in the hearts of men; and finally on the battlefield. It was romantic, almost fantastic in some respects. There were fugitive slaves, insurrections, and kidnappings. There were mobs, riots, and sudden death. Great men faltered. Political parties crumbled. Churches separated along sectional lines. ⇢ The course of the men and women who dedicated their lives to arresting the spread of slavery was marvelously direct and straightforward. They denounced it as a sin which could only be remedied by unconditional repentance and retributive justice. They denounced it as antithetical to the foundation principles of the nation, contrary to both natural law and moral law. They were a small group in the beginning, a constitutional majority in the end. They did not deviate or hesitate until victory came in the election of 1860. Every fundamental argument, vital principle, and important fact pertinent to the preservation of the Union and in defense of the freedom of man, then and now, in this country and throughout the world, was presented in this contest. ⇢ These people were neither fanatics nor incendiaries. They appealed to the minds and consciences of men. They precipitated an intellectual and moral crusade for social pgnumorm, for the rescue of a noble people, for the redemption of democracy. In these pages, you will find the issues, the people, and the literature of this country's greatest victory for democracy.

-v-

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