History 161- Final Essay
Radicalism can be best described as the opinions and behavior of people who favor extreme changes, especially in government, political ideation and behavior. This type of behavior has been studied by historians for centuries across the globe. One could argue that the first radical movement in the United States was the Colonies’ seeking freedom from Great Britain. This event sparked centuries of Americans seeking reform. The 19th century in America was a time permeated by unequal policies and biased opinions in politics. Laws were shaped to single out thousands of Americans who were all justly a part of this nation and deserved equality. Due to this, radicalism was extremely prevalent during the 1800’s which led to the formation of the anti-slavery and women's rights movement. Leaders of these movements utilized literature which helped them form numerous organizations and achieve the notoriety and sheer numbers necessary to bring their reform movements into the mainstream.
Slaves were amongst the most affected by these unjust government policies during the 19th century and abolitionist immediately started their journey to spread awareness of the cruel epidemic affecting the lives of millions. Literature was a crucial aspect of the abolitionist movement and slavery reform as many people nationwide weren't previously aware of the severe, cruel, and harsh conditions in which they lived. “During the first six months, of that year, scarce a week passed with his whipping me” (Douglass, Page 60). Authors such as William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and former slave Frederick Douglass used literature to bring abolitionism to the eye of the public. Harriet Beecher Stowe is a famous abolitionist author who wrote the novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” This novel helped shed light on the cruel living conditions on plantations and the inhumane separation of families through slave trades. Conditions that were frequently written about in Douglass’ narrative. “We were worked in all weathers. It was never too hot or too cold; it could never rain, blow, hail, or snow too hard for us to work in the field” (Douglass, Page 63). This novel became extremely viral during the 19th century and it is even said that when Abraham Lincoln later met Stowe he said, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.” (Vollaro)
William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass were arguably the most influential writers of the 19th century abolitionist movement. Garrison was famous for his anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator which first published in 1831. The Liberator was a weekly chronicle that started in Boston but surely enough spread throughout the nation. His massive growth of followers came due to his extremely radical, public position on the controversial standpoint of slavery. The Liberator was comprised of articles that denounced the Compromise of 1850, condemned...