A More Aggressive Abolitionism The AASS disintegrated and the border states of MD, VA, KY, and MO began having increased conflict and escapes in reaction to the domestic slave trade. In response to worsened conditions, the radical wing of the Liberty Party supported slave resistance and urged black and white northerners to go south to help enslaved blacks.
The Amistad and the Creole Two revolts at sea between 1839 and 1841. Both incidents inspired abolitionists and became symbols of slave bravery. June 1839, Joseph Cinque led a rebellion aboard La Amistad, a Spanish slave ship. He attempted to sail back to Africa but was apprehended by an American warship. The slaves were tried in a New London court and aided by abolitionist and Congressman Adams to attain their freedom by 1841. December 1841, Madison Washington led a rebellion aboard the Creole, an American ship bringing slaves from VA to LA. The ship was brought to Bermuda and all slaves gained their freedom under British law.
The Underground Railroad The Underground Railroad began due to increased southern white violence, slave resistance, and aggressive northern abolitionism. “Passengers” would move northward toward Canada, and some went into Mexico or the West Indies. They raised money to escape, helped other escapees and many later became “agents.” Harriet Tubman was one of the most active agent for the Underground Railroad and returned South 13 times, rescuing her own family and several other enslaved blacks.
Canada West Since slavery was illegal in the British Empire after 1833, many blacks began settling in Canada West as early as 1820. The Underground Railroad generally ended in these regions, especially after the Compromise of 1850 and its’ increased Fugitive Slave Laws. Although Canada was a safe haven from kidnappers and slave catchers, it was still fraught with discrimination and segregation that was found in the U.S.
Black Militancy Black abolitionist began advocating forceful action against slavery in the 1840’s for several reasons: Break up of the AASS weakened loyalty to national associations Black abolitionist felt that white abolitionist only enjoyed debate and theory. Cinque and Madison Washington’s rebellions inspired direct action. This led to the rise of local vigilance societies, such as William Still’s in Philadelphia. These societies were in reaction to the increased Fugitive Slave laws. Black militancy also led to the public accusations of blacks that the white abolitionist had not lived up to their word.
Frederick Douglass Douglass was born a slave in Maryland in 1818, escaped to New England in 1838, and became a lecturer by 1841. Douglass felt that the white abolitionist only used him as a fugitive slave role, even though he had become one of the most influential speakers of the time. Douglass broke from the AASS and moved to Rochester, NY where he began publishing the North Star in 1847. His endorsement of the Liberty Party’s arguments using the Constitution, over Garrison’s disunion theory was his final break from the AASS.
Revival of Black Nationalism Douglass was a firm believer in integration. He felt that blacks would become part of the greater American identity. Martin R. Delaney had a different point of view influenced by the rising tide of violence and racism of the time, and his view was shared by a respectable minority. Delaney championed the idea of black self-reliance and he promoted mass black migration to Latin America or Africa. Garnet also wanted migration, but with the help of whites. He felt some blacks with the help of the ACS could bring Christianity and economic development to Africa. These black nationalistic ideals did not become a reality due to the success of the anti-slavery movement, cession, and the outcome of the Civil War.
Conclusions We have discussed the growth of a more aggressive form of abolition, in which rebellion, escape, and militancy became advocated by abolitionists. The split between different groups of abolitionist also show the rifts forming in ideals, as well as the mistrust between white and black abolitionists. HW: Actively Read 211-220
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