Of One Blood

Of One Blood

by Paul Goodman
     
 

The abolition movement is perhaps the most salient example of the struggle the United States has faced in its long and complex confrontation with the issue of race.
In his final book, historian Paul Goodman, who died in 1995, presents a new and important interpretation of abolitionism. Goodman pays particular attention to the role that blacks played in the

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Overview

The abolition movement is perhaps the most salient example of the struggle the United States has faced in its long and complex confrontation with the issue of race.
In his final book, historian Paul Goodman, who died in 1995, presents a new and important interpretation of abolitionism. Goodman pays particular attention to the role that blacks played in the movement.
In the half-century following the American Revolution, a sizable free black population emerged, the result of state-sponsored emancipation in the North and individual manumission in the slave states. At the same time, a white movement took shape, in the form of the American Colonization Society, that proposed to solve the slavery question by sending the emancipated blacks to Africa and making Liberia an American "colony." The resistance of northern free blacks was instrumental in exposing the racist ideology underlying colonization and inspiring early white abolitionists to attack slavery straight on.
In a society suffused with racism, says Goodman, abolitionism stood apart by its embrace of racial equality as a Christian imperative.

Goodman demonstrates that the abolitionist movement had a far broader social basis than was previously thought. Drawing on census and town records, his portraits of abolitionists reveal the many contributions of ordinary citizens, especially laborers and women long overshadowed by famous movement leaders. Paul Goodman's humane spirit informs these pages. His book is a scholarly legacy that will enrich the history of antebellum race and reform movements for years to come.

"[God] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth."—Acts 17:26

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Using his mastery of religious history, Goodman (Towards a Christian Republic: Anti-Masonry and the Great Transition in New England, 1826-36, Oxford Univ., 1988) provides deeply researched and acutely analyzed insights into the origins and persuasions of abolitionism and racial equality. Goodman, who taught for 30 years at the University of California at Davis and died in 1995, also asserts that 'white abolitionism was galvanized' by free blacks who pointed out the racism in proposals to solve the slavery question through black colonization of Africa. Throughout, he focuses on the premise that the abolitionists earnestly advocated -- that racial prejudice must be abandoned to achieve true abolition of slavery because God had created humankind 'of one blood.' The book has no bibliography but excellent notes for each chapter. --Edward G. McCormack, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Library, Long Beach
Tim Stafford
Goodman seems to understand the mind of the abolitionists better than any historian I have read, and he is able to place them in their social setting in a thoroughly convincing way.
Books & Culture
Kirkus Reviews
An important addition to the history of American abolitionism. Goodman, late professor of history at the University of California, Davis, devoted much of his intellectual energies to questions of social justice. His concern is evident in this fine book, which focuses on the beginnings of the anti-slavery movement and on the role of women and African-Americans in the early struggle; although both were important in making the abolitionist cause widespread, neither has received much treatment in the historical literature. As have other historians, Goodman treats the role of the New England clergy in organizing resistance to the slave trade, departing from them to write of fascinating protagonists like David Walker (1785-1830), the son of a black father and white mother, who recognized that 'lack of unity had been fatal to black prospects in the past' and who therefore concentrated on forging well organized communities of free blacks in the North, writing an influential manifesto called 'Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World,' which argued persuasively that forcible resistance to slavery was the only way to bring that institution to an end. Goodman looks at other community-minded ministers and politicians who integrated churches in New York City, losing many white members in the process, before addressing the question of women abolitionists, scorned even in anti-slavery quarters as 'a parcel of silly women acting as petticoat politicians.' Despite this unfriendly reception, figures such as the Bostonian Sarah Grimke, Goodman writes, argued that by working to free slaves, women would begin to liberate themselves; and they won many adherents to their cause. This book makes a fittingclose to a distinguished historian's career.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520226791
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
11/02/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
324
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.13(h) x 0.88(d)

What People are saying about this

James M. McPherson
This superb study. . .puts scholarship about the antislavery movement back on the track from which it was derailed 30 years ago. -- Author of Battle Cry of Freedom
William E. Gienapp
One of the most original works on abolitionism to appear in years. -- Author of The Origins of the Republican Party

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