Antislavery Reform

Sandra Harbert Petrulionis

in The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780195331035
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Antislavery Reform

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Transcendentalism has a very deep history in antislavery activism. As the article goes, Radical abolitionism gained momentum as an organized effort centered in Transcendentalist New England with the Boston publication of William Lloyd Garrison's “Liberator,” which began in 1831. The article takes on Garrison as a great antislavery activist as in contrast to using gradual methods Garrison insisted on the immediate and peaceful abolition of slavery. Bronson Alcott alone among the Transcendentalists locked arms with Garrison, attending his lectures even before the “Liberator” began publication. However, later on, by the late 1850s, nearly all of the Transcendentalists regarded themselves as abolitionists. Instead of whether to act, they deliberated how to do so. Many women in the Transcendentalist circle responded to Garrison, empowered by his insistence that women take leadership roles in his movement, though the principal female Transcendentalist Fuller, however, played little to no active role in antislavery reform.

Keywords: antislavery; social reform; William Lloyd Garrison; Liberator; Massachusetts

Article.  5413 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (19th Century) ; Literary Studies (Fiction, Novelists, and Prose Writers)

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