Let Your Motto Be Resistance (1833-1850)

Let Your Motto Be Resistance
(1833-1850)- Part 1
The Rising Tide of Racism & Violence
Antislavery Movement Responds
Moral Suasion
A Rising Tide of Racism & Violence
From the 1830’s up to the Civil War, America had become more violent and racist. This was
evident in the ideals of Manifest Destiny which legitimized war and expansion in the U.S.
American ethnologist also rejected the ideals of tabula rasa, and turned towards a racist
ideal that whites were superior, while other races were intrinsically inferior.
Nativism was also a new belief that came out of this era, and was initiated by native born
protestants whose prejudice against immigrant Roman Catholics had come to a head.
Federal and State governments led the racially
motivated violence with several actions such as the
systematic removal of Native Americans .
Also, antiblack riots erupted in urban areas and
white mobs attacked abolitionist newspaper
presses and African American neighborhoods.
Antiblack & Antiabolitionist Riots
As abolitionism gained strength in the 1820’s and 30’s, riots combating both blacks and
abolition groups became more and more prevalent.
Some examples of these riots:
- Cincinnati (1829) a 3 day riot started by local politicians leads to blacks fleeing to
- Providence, white sailors lead a riot that would destroy a black neighborhood.
- Philadelphia more riots then any other state (1820, 1829, 1834, 1835, 1838, 1842
and 1849)
Texas & The War with Mexico
Manifest Destiny became most evident in Pres. Polk’s foreign
policy and expansionism seen with Mexico in the 1840’s.
Polk called for the annexation of Texas and Oregon during his
presidency and also pushed the U.S. into a two year war with
The war was essentially in response to Mexico’s independence
and abolishment of slavery, particularly in Texas where
southern slaveholders had settled.
The expansion of the American territory into the
Southwest spread fear in the north of southern
dominance in Congress, and led to the controversial
Compromise of 1850.
The American Anti-Slavery Society
The American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS) was changed in 1831 when
William Lloyd Garrison decided to call for the immediate,
uncompensated emancipation as well as equal rights for blacks.
Garrison worked very closely with blacks to bridge the racial gap. He
spoke to black groups and even stayed with blacks when he traveled.
African Americans, in turn, supported his paper financially and worked
for Garrison as promoters and body guards.
Although the AASS allowed for blacks to participate in the
meetings and help the society, it still did not allow for them to
take a leading role. This pattern continued.
Women, both black and white, were only allowed to observe
at these meetings until 1840.
Black & Women’s Antislavery Societies
• Due to the struggle over “the women question,”
in the AASS, women and some black men formed
auxiliary groups to the AASS.
• The desire for racial solidarity and discord in
white dominated groups also led to blacks
forming their own groups.
• Although the main task of the female groups was
fundraising, they also challenged the traditional
role assigned to women along with giving rise to
The Black Convention Movement
• Stemming from the reform movements of the antebellum
• 1st meeting established by Hezekiah Grice and Richard Allen
in PA.
• Meetings were small, informal, and did not have a method
for choosing delegates.
• Meetings discussed abolition, improvement for African
Americans, integrated education, and self-help.
• Unfortunately this program faltered since many black
abolitionist turned to the AASS in the 1830’s.
Black Churches in the Antislavery Cause
• The leading black abolitionists were ministers.
• They attacked slavery, racial discrimination,
the ACS, and proslavery white churches.
• They also allowed speakers like Douglass and
Garrison to use the church as well as white
antislavery groups.
Black Newspapers
Although many
abolitionist papers
failed due to
financial issues,
they were
Samuel Cornish and
John Russworm
published the first
paper, The
Freedom’s Journal
in 1827.
The North Star and
Frederick Douglass’
Paper were the
most influential.
Moral Suasion
• Moral Suasion- persuasion of one’s morals, particularly
through the use of Christianity.
• Abolitionist argued that slavery was a crime and sin, as
well as inefficient since it only enriched a small
percentage of the population.
• They also targeted the north’s role in slavery, as well as
the federal governments.
– Textiles, interstate slave trade, and fugitive slave act.
• By attacking slavery through new methods (i.e. postal
messages and speeches) the AASS was reacted to with
violence from southern whites.
• Congress also reacted with passing the Gag Rule in
• Some abolitionist leaders lives were also threatened.
The American & Foreign Antislavery
Society and the Liberty Party
• When the AASS broke up in 1840, many who left
established the American and Foreign AntiSlavery Society and the Liberty Party.
• The AASS broke up due to “the women question,”
Garrison’s radicalism, and the failure of moral
• The AFASS was led by Lewis Tappan and the
Liberty Party was led by James G. Birney who ran
for president in 1840.
• The NY wing of the Liberty Party was the most
directly involved in helping slaves escape under
the leadership of Gerrit Smith.
• The radicalism of the abolition was directly
correlated with the rising tide of violence and
racism of the 1830’s.
• Both blacks and whites worked towards
abolition, yet many attempts were short lived
or failed.
• HW: Finish Ch. 9 active notes (pp 199-206)
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