Abolitionism

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Abolitionism

 

(1) A social movement aimed at liquidating a law.

(2) A movement in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries for the abolition of Negro slavery. Abolitionism in the United States was strikingly manifested by the Negro slave rebellions in the South—for example, the rebellions in 1800, led by Gabriel; and in 1831, led by Nat Turner. The beginning of an organized national abolitionist movement dates from the founding of the American Antislavery Society in 1833. Abolitionism unified broad segments of society, including farmers who were struggling for land against the slaveholding plantation owners, workers, progressive intellectuals, and activists in the Negro emancipation movement, as well as an element of the bourgeoisie who saw slavery as an obstacle to the development of capitalism in the country. The most revolutionary abolitionist groups, headed by F. Douglass, understood the need for armed force in the struggle against slavery. Of special importance in the struggle against slavery was the 1859 insurrection led by J. Brown. The popular masses played a leading role in the liquidation of slavery during the American Civil War. Under pressure from them, the government of A. Lincoln adopted as a military measure a law emancipating but giving no land to those Negro slaves who were owned by planters participating in the secessionist rebellion. However, the Civil War did not bring true freedom to the Negroes. The American bourgeoisie strove “to restore everything possible, and to do everything possible—even the impossible—to further the most shameless and vile oppression of Negroes” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 27, p. 142).

(3) The struggle which developed in Great Britain, France, and several other European countries in the 18th and 19th centuries to abolish slavery in colonial areas.

References in periodicals archive ?
The abolition of slavery in the United States was seen that way, but a handful of black and white abolitionists would not give up, and they eventually created a national movement powerful enough to turn a utopian dream into reality.
The silent fugitive slave's body became an erotic sign of servitude in the social, liberational discourses of white abolitionists.
Black and white abolitionists pushed a reluctant Lincoln to sign the act, Bennett writes, and he quotes a congressman who said Lincoln "feared that enlistments would cease, and that Congress would even refuse the necessary supplies to carry on the war, if he declined to place it on a clearly defined antislavery basis.
The book is divided into two sections on black liberators and white abolitionists so that, with a couple of exceptions, essays on Northern free blacks and black abolitionists appear with those on slave rebels.
To the gory descriptions of physical cruelty on the bodies of slaves, Jacobs adds her discourse on the sexual violation of enslaved women, and the intervention of white abolitionists in the production and dissemination of slave narratives.
The remaining five essays discuss antislavery violence and rhetoric by white abolitionists.
White abolitionists were opposed to the influence of Olaudah Equiano in Britain just as they undermined Samuel Ajayi Crowther's position in the Yoruba/Niger Mission.
Such preconceptions caused real difficulties when white abolitionists came into contact with black abolitionists wit h their own priorities and agendas.
Coming in the wake of "a rash of fugitive slave cases in 1850 and 1851" (26), the Burns case immediately gripped the attention of Boston's black and white abolitionists, and after a failed assault on the city jail, antislavery advocates then threw up every possible legal and philosophical obstacle in an effort to thwart what was essentially the law of the land.
Black and white abolitionists countered by insisting that these claims merely concealed the racism behind colonizationist actions.
It was that crusade of black and white abolitionists, growing into a great national movement, that pushed a reluctant Lincoln into finally issuing a half-hearted Emancipation Proclamation, and persuaded Congress to pass the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments.
One result was a rift between black and white abolitionists.