Emily Kalantar Kalantar 1
April 3, 2014
The Importance of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
How one book caused a significant influence in history.
Rarely is one work of literature so significant that it has the ability to change a society or cascade it down a path of ruinous conflict. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, is a work that provided such a catalytic occurrence. To this day, this work of fiction brilliance is considered one of the most instrumental American works to ever be published. Selling over a million copies in its first two years and being the second bestselling book next to the Bible, what makes this accomplishment even more incredible is the fact that a woman wrote this book during a period in history when women were not granted the ability to have roles of influence or leadership, in any society1. In 1852, when the book was published, women were nonetheless confined to domestic obligations. With the help of the books, Uncle Tom’s Cabin written by Harriet Beecher Stowe and Social Analysis: Linking Faith and Justice written by Joe Holland, one is able to understand how much of an impact Stowe had on America’s history with the way people viewed slavery. The percussion of Uncle Tom’s Cabin caused much conflict between the abolitionists and the antislavery citizens. This work is important to history because it created the idea of finding a place for religion in society, shone a light on how African
American slaves were treated, pushed the United States to a realization with the idea of whether slavery could continue to be a cornerstone of American life and how it contributed to the beginning of the Civil War. As Abe Lincoln said of Stowe, “the little woman who started the Great War1.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in 1811 in Lichfield, Connecticut. Several members of her immediate family were liberal clergymen and theologians; her brother and father were two of the most respected theologians of the 1800’s. Harriet was an extremely devout Christian who truly lived out her faith. Her writings were strongly impacted by the Christian faith as they were focused on the doctrines of sin, salvation, guilt and portraying what it meant to be a ‘good’ Christian. As in her most famous piece of literature, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Uncle Tom is given a Christ like figure. Tom is a man of credibility. He honors his elders, blesses those who curse him, and always thinks of others before himself even if it means he suffers tremendously. In the story, Tom willingly gives up his life for the wellbeing of others, something that was done so selflessly. Harriet Beecher Stowe credits God with authorship mentioning that she is to be seen as “God’s instrument against the evils of slavery”. Her rich involvement in the Christian faith became the underlying factor in the book; several characters in her book portrayed Christians living out God’s will.
A man named William Ward once said, "Real...