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Harriet Beecher Stowe: Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Dominion of Conscience

  • Montville Township Public Library 90 Horseneck Road Montville, NJ, 07045 United States (map)

In 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe published her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly. This empathetic depiction of life for African Americans under slavery reached millions in the United States and the United Kingdom.  The emotionally charged stories of Uncle Tom, Eliza, and Little Eva helped move the conscience of the country to the great and imperative cause of Abolitionism.  It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the pro-slavery South.  It is alleged that when she met Abraham Lincoln, he told her “So you are the little woman that wrote the book that started this great war.”

Constrained by 19th century societal conventions Harriet could not become a minister like her father, brothers and husband, so she chose instead to use the outlets available to a lady, among those were teaching and writing.  During the early years of her marriage, Harriet drew income as an educator and from writing from magazine articles. Later, after witnessing the horrors of Slavery and the work of Abolitionists, she began Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a story to be published in serial form.  The stories catapulted her to international fame, and in the years following, Harriet went on to publish over 20 novels as well as travel memoirs, home-life guides, letters and essays, becoming one of the most widely published authors in American History.

This program is made possible through the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. For more information contact Pam O’Gorman (973) 402-0900 X222