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John Woolman And The Abolition Of Slavery

1148 words - 5 pages

John Woolman was born in a Quaker family in New Jersey and lived from 1720-1772. In 1756 he began to write his journal where he spoke out in a piece entitled "Some Consideration on the Keeping of Negroes". His writing is exceptional because of the simplicity and lure. Woolman's attraction is his clear motive and sympathy toward the African-Americans. I will maintain in this paper that the Quakers, and specifically the abolitionist Woolman, were not feeble pacifists, but brilliant warriors. Woolman had a passion for the freedom of the slaves. He observed how the slaves were treated and it hurt him:"But the general disadvantage which these poor Africans lie under in an enlightened Christian country have often filled me with real sadness, and been like undigested matter on my mind."This shows Woolman's and all the other Quakers' passion for people. The Quakers were well known for their acceptance for all colors, races, and creeds. They would sit in circles at their meetings in order to make everyone equal and to eliminate the hierarchy. Woolman felt very moved by the Lord to help the African-Americans and fight a battle for them through his words. Woolman points out that the United States is an "enlightened Christian country", therefore should know better than to oppress an entire race and that it sits like a "piece of undigested matter" on his mind, meaning it is disgusting and lingering to him. People with a conscience and sympathy towards a mistreated people can feel very unclean as Woolman describes. Woolman uses Genesis 3:20: "Adam named his wife Eve because she would become the mother of all the living," to show that all of humankind was of "one blood." This is a very eye opening point for any God fearing person who considers the bible as gospel. To be forced to think of an African-American as a brother or sister to a white person would bother many people. To know that all people love the same temptations, vices, death, and judgment and to view the African-Americans as equals made Woolman a very frustrated man. Woolman says:"the All-wise Being is judge and Lord over us all, it seems to raise an idea of a general brotherhood."This shows Woolman's image of equality and an extremely powerful nation of all colors and creeds in the form of a "brotherhood". His concept of brotherhood is a very powerful weapon that he has. It describes a nation of brothers or all God fearing people and at the same time describes an extremely strong bond that Woolman envisioned would create the most powerful country. Woolman also felt that each person had their own gifts that the Lord gave them:"We allow them to be of the same species with ourselves; the odds is we are in a higher station and enjoy greater favors than they."This is where Woolman describes that each person is given different favors from God and he also notes that some people get more favors than other people. Woolman also warns not to misuse the favors God gives a...

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