Slavery and its abolition took the center stage in the American politics in the early 19th century. Harriet Beecher Stowe, a black writer and former slave wrote the book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was published in 1852. This book revolves around a slave owner, Simon Legree. He is a man who subjects slaves to the worst treatment possible and worse still tells them of their fate (Beecher 165). After buying them, he orders them to remove their smart clothes and put on “slave clothes.” He strips them all their possessions and gives them rules even before they arrive at the farm. He threatens them with his power, chains them, and instills fear into their low lives (Beecher 166). As though this is not enough, he deprives them of worship and song. He tells them that they should not sing and praise God in any way. He informs them that he is their ultimate god. A stranger on the boat watches him do this and he concludes that slavery is a thing that thrives on the humane men. He says that the “respectability and humanity of the black men licenses and protects the brutality of a slave owner” (Beecher 167). Beecher feels that slavery should be abolished because it predates on human compassion and humanity.
Fredrick Douglass gave a polarized speech on the Fourth of July and revealed the basis of racial discrimination- color (Douglass 167). Douglass used strong language in his speech and called for the white hypocrites to examine themselves. They committed acts of inhumanity while hiding under their Christian God. Fourth of July is Independence Day for America and it implies that every man on its soil should be free. However, the situation in America was different then. The slave was not free even on Independence Day. He was forced to celebrate and sing in a day that he only knew of pain, suffering, and isolation. Douglass felt that a Negro should not be patriotic after all he is not part of the nation (Douglass 168). This speech revealed the problems that the Negro was going through in bondage. The Negro was subjected to tough laws meaning that in law, he was an understanding being but in reality, he was a brute. In Virginia state, the Negro had sixty laws all with a death penalty white only two were punishable. This speech called the white Americans to examine their actions and the constitution and stop hypocrisy (169).
In 1833, The American Anti Slavery Society wrote the Declaration of sentiments. They felt that the slave was part of America and should be treated as a free man. In the Declaration of independence, the Founders of America wrote that “…all men are equal and are endowed by their Creator, creation inalienable rights…Liberty and pursuit of happiness” (Wendell and Francis 145) This group pushed for the abolition of slavery. They called for the reexamination of the constitution and the Declaration of Independence. This society insisted on extreme measures like freeing of slaves, compensating, and giving them the full rights to access employment, education, social facilities, and anything that can help them to improve their lives (Wendell and Francis 146-147). This group based their sentiments on God, the Creator of every person. They say that God was so good and he created all men equally and so they shall be equal in all possible manners.
After Beecher had released Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Caroline Hentz wrote a novel, The Planter’s Northern Bride. This novel revolves around Albert, a black slave and his master and a Southern planter, Mr. Moreland. He goes to the Northern states with his slave. His friends and neighbors warn him that if he goes with his slave, he will lose him to the ideology of freedom that is dominant at the North. Moreland insists and he goes with his slave.
At the North, the slaves are free. His proprietor, a man of Indian origin tells Albert to sit around a table during mealtime, a request that Albert declines. Moreland is annoyed by this act and refuses to eat. He goes out and meets a former slave complaining of working without wages. She is sick and her family relies on her. Moreland escorts the freed slave to her cabin and gives her a handout. Moreland feels that the southern slaves are better off as slaves than free men (Caroline 173-174). He feels that as slaves they are under good well care. He looks at the negative side of unbounded people. They are sick, poor and cannot be taken care of at their hour of need. Mooreland perceives the freeing of slaves as a bad thing. He thinks that when slaves are free, their life is a burden on other people, charity, and the compassion of the public.
Hentz shows that the Northerners are more brutal than the Southern Slave Owners. She labels the Northerners as “unkind” because they dismiss slaves after years of service. The Southerners believe that slavery is an inequality that comes along with life. They are taking advantage of the weak points in life to make their lives comfortable. Moreland represents the Southerners who supported slavery. He concludes that the black man is the most subservient race on earth, a race that is destined to be slaves (Caroline 175).