Abolitionism by Shmoop

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The Abolitionist Rank-and-File A combination of economic, social, and religious factors combined to form the abolitionist movement. In the so called "Burned-Over District" of upstate New York and the Great Lakes region, the Christian evangelical revivalism that came to be known as the Second Great Awakening swept the population into a religious fervor. Not coincidentally, this period followed on the heels of the 1825 Erie Canal completion, which solidified New York City as the gateway metropolis to the agricultural hinterlands of the country's interior.

Even before his turn to colonization, Garnett's radical approach to the slavery question-and the differences of opinion between him and other abolitionists, including Douglass-remind us that factions abounded within the antislavery movement. Black activists had to navigate these differences in orderto achieve their cherished goals: freedom and equality. Internal Factioning By the 1840s and 50s, the anti-slavery movement was splintering. Many white abolitionists fervently believed in their cause but tried to take control of the movement or approached interactions with their black comrades in a patronizing or inexperienced way.

Although paradoxical, there may have been a sort of relationship at play between the two extremes (some professors might call this relationship a "dialectic"): the blatant inequality, inhumanity, and cruel subjection of bondage and the idealistic self-determination of a free and equal society. The two opposites emerged and developed in contrast to one another, yet alongside one another, similar to the Chinese concept of yin and yang. " Thus the ideal and the real coexisted in the first 250 years of European settlement on the North American continent; but the lingering potency of the ideal-that is, "that all men are created equal"-also formed the basis for a persevering anti-slavery movement.

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