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Historical observations of abolition have ranged from perspectives of contempt to acclamation, and now show signs of a major change in interpretation. The literature often has been dominated by hostile appraisals of William Lloyd Garrison and other abolitionist leaders until the 1960s, when historians equated abolitionism may have fluctuated from one period to the next, most of this scholarship shared certain assumptions—that abolitionists provided pivotal factors toward the onset of the Civil War, that their internal disputes were intensely interesting, and that somehow they were emblematic of other generations of radicals in the American experience.
Today the scope of antislavery scholarship was widened to examine abolition in light of the social, economic, and political climate of nineteenth-century society and culture. Thus volume of fourteen new and original essays comprises the first survey of current directions in abolitionist writings and represents an advanced perspective in contemporary American historical research. The contributors include such well-known scholars on abolitionism as BertramWyatt-Brown, Leonard Richards, James Brewer Stewart, and William Wiecek.
The authors examine various dimensions of abolitionism from its religious context to its international effect, from its attitude toward the northern poor to its impact on feminism, and from wars of words waged with southern intellectuals to the bloodier conflicts begun in Kansas. These essays, rather than expounding a single revisionist attitude, include every major approach to antislavery — women's history, quantitative history, comparative history, legal history, black history, psychohistory, social history. Antislavery Reconsidered allows both specialists and laymen a chance to survey recent scholastic trends in this area and provides for them the assumptions, methods, and conclusions of the best current literature on antislavery.
|The Boundaries of Abolitionism||3|
|Controversies over Slavery in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Scotland||24|
|Abolition as a Sacred Vocation||51|
|Widening the Circle: The Black Church and the Abolitionist Crusade, 1830-1860||75|
|The Jacksonians and Slavery||99|
|The Forgotten Reformers: A Profile of Third Party Abolitionists in Antebellum New York||119|
|Richard Davis Webb and Antislavery in Ireland||149|
|Heroes, Villains, Liberty, and License: The Abolitionist Vision of Wendell Phillips||168|
|"Poverty Is Not Slavery": American Abolitionists and the Competitive Labor Market||195|
|Latimer: Lawyers, Abolitionists, and the Problem of Unjust Laws||219|
|Women's Rights and Abolition: The Nature of the Connection||238|
|"Am I Not a Woman and a Sister?" Abolitionist Beginnings of Nineteenth-Century Feminism||252|
|Rehearsal for the Civil War: Antislavery and Proslavery at the Fighting Point in Kansas, 1854-1856||287|
|Proslavery and Antislavery Intellectuals: Class Concepts and Polemical Struggle||308|
|Notes on Contributors||337|