Many different factors drove people, mainly northern abolitionists, to fight to abolish slavery. For some, slavery was wrong since its birth; others wanted to end slavery for political reasons, yet many more northern whites realized that slavery was physically inhumane, psychologically abusive, and politically callous.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin published on March 20th, 1852, shed much needed light on slavery in the South. In this book, Harriet Beecher Stowe exposed the sickening evils of enslavement. Many northerners were unaware of the brutal treatment and harsh cruelties slaves received and wanted to help after reading the book. Stowe depicts the physical and psychological abuse on slaves. (Unger 89). Slaves had no legal rights. (Unger 89). A slave owner could easily avoid repercussions for the killing, excessive beating, rapping, and torturing of a slave. The mere thought of how badly slaves were treated made some northerners cringe. (Unger 89). Stowe also illustrates what happens during a slave auction. Slaves would be examined as if they were racehorses. (Unger 44). Many families would be separated despite their pleas. Northern women especially sympathized and took action because of the degradation of the human spirit and the reality of families being separated. Slave mothers forced themselves to kill their own babies (a common practice known as infanticide) to save them from the suffering and misery of growing up as a slave.
The Fugitive Slave Law Act of 1850 legalized the seizure of free blacks. This enabled northerners to see first hand free blacks that were a part of their communities have their freedom papers burned and homes vandalized to be kidnapped and taken to the south. The fact that black people had no legal protection angered the north as they tried to find little ways to help the black people within their towns. The underground railroad
During the Second...