The Religious Roots of the Abolition Movement

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
7:00–8:30 p.m. (EST) Enter Classroom Enter Forum


Laurie Maffly-Kipp

Associate Professor of Religion
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

About the Seminar

How did American Christians in the nineteenth century come to see slavery as something that needed to be abolished?

Christianity was a central feature of nineteenth-century American life for both slaveholders and anti-slavery activists. To argue persuasively against slavery, abolitionists had to find ways to use the Bible and Christian tradition, along with American patriotic and domestic ideals, to make their case.

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Assigned Readings

  1. "American Abolitionism and Religion" by Bertram Wyatt-Brown, "Divining America: Religion in American History," TeacherServe® from the National Humanities Center.
  2. "Address to Fellow Quakers", Benjamin Lay, 1737
  3. Preamble to David Walker's Appeal, 1830. For more on the Appeal, including discussion questions: "The Triumph of Nationalism/The House Dividing" from the National Humanities Center.
  4. Mastheads of the Liberator
  5. Collection box for Abolition
  6. "An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South", Angelina Grimké, 1836
  7. The Slave's Friend, 1836
  8. "The Relation of the Free Church to the Slave Church, Frederick Douglass, 1846
  9. John Brown—The Martyr, 1870

Seminar Recording