Chapter

Free Men and Free Speech: 1834–1837

Joan D. Hedrick

in Harriet Beecher Stowe

Published in print July 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096392
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854288 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195096392.003.0010
Free Men and Free Speech: 1834–1837

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Harriet Beecher Stowe embarked upon housekeeping during the turbulent decade of the 1830s when anti-slavery riots erupted in most of the major cities. Harriet was drawn into abolitionist sympathies by her engagement in the free speech movement that sprung up in their defense. This tapped her republican principles and her heroic impulses. In 1834, Harriet had witnessed a free speech battle at Lane Seminary that had long-range consequences for the future of that institution. The first class of seminarians comprised forty men who, like many college men of this period, were mainly older students. Lyman Beecher praised their piety and maturity. Among them was Theodore Weld, noted for his brilliance, eloquence, and leadership. In February 1834, Weld organized an eighteen-day “protracted meeting” to debate the slavery issue. At the conclusion of these famous “Lane Debates,” the students voted overwhelmingly against colonization and in favor of “immediate abolition.”.

Keywords: Harriet Beecher Stowe; anti-slavery; free speech movement; Lyman Beecher; Theodore Weld; Lane Debates; colonization; abolition; Lane Seminary; slavery

Chapter.  3902 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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