Abolitionist Movement Played a Crucial Term Paper

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The hierarchical society, which characterized the new nation, was another aspect, which would soon be transformed. "The political rulers had come largely from the social elites. The churches were supported by those elites. and, in most cases, the churches had been officially sanctioned by the political structures of the states. Social, political, and religious authority had been tightly interwoven in the same small group of elite leaders." [

Ira Chernus] the Electoral voting system and the cultural changes initiated by the new political situation created a new wave of social and moral reforms.

Racial amity

Another major social change that started to happen was the dissolution of apartheid. Though it must be understood that racial segregation continued in existence much long after the abolition of slavery, the cause for desegregation was initiated in the 1830's. Oberlin College, started in 1833, became the first ever College in the U.S. To admit black students and the first ever co education college. This was during the time when state laws did not permit black students in academic institutions. As a case in point is the closing down of the school for "young misses of color," started in 1833 by Prudence Crandall. The State assembly of Connecticut issued a law known as the 'Black Law', which barred black students from entering Connecticut to receive education. [NPS] Evangelical religious movements also supported abolition movement and considered segregation a sinful practice. The Oneida Institute and Knox College are other examples of academic institutions striving to promote racial amity. [James Brewer Stewart]

Constitutional Reforms

The most significant constitutional reform bought about by the abolitionist movement is the ratification of the thirteenth amendment in 1865, which comprehensively banned slavery from American land. This political achievement marked the big constitutional victory for the anti-slavery society but the social reform which had to occur took a very long time. Segregation between blacks and whites continued and it was not until 1955 when Rosa parks, a 42-year-old colored woman refused to give up her seat for a white passenger significant changes took place. This daring act made her the 'mother of civil rights movement' and instigated the Montgomery bus boycott, which continued for a record 382 days causing severe loss for the bus company. The 1956 Supreme Court decision challenged the bus segregation as a constitutional violation. Finally the 1964 civil rights act was passed which completely redefined America into a nation of equal rights for all irrespective of race, religion or nationality. [Girl Power]


Abolitionist movement played a crucial role in destroying slavery from the United States and the European countries where the practice was legal and an acceptable institution. The abolitionist movement triggered different social changes and forced the drafting of amendments that made slavery constitutionally unacceptable. Though it took another century or more before racial equality became a practical reality, by the late 1830's the abolitionist cause spearheaded by the Garrisonians (AASS), and much later the Civil war supported by president Abraham Lincoln, created a social revolution emphasizing the unacceptability of slavery. The passing of the thirteenth amendment completely banned slavery from American soil. The abolitionist movement not only succeeded in emancipated blacks but also served as the motivating force for women's equal rights movement. It goes without saying that the abolition movement is definitely the force behind other social movements such as the women's suffrage rights, the civil rights movement and in the transformation of America from a nation of segregation, oppression, and inequality to its present status as a melting pot of various cultures, race and religion with freedom and equal rights for all.


Howard Cincotta, "An Outline of American History," USIA, May 1994, http://www.let.rug.nl/~usa/H/1994/ch6_p4.htm

Bonnie Eisenberg & Mary Ruthsdotter, "Living the Legacy: The Women's Rights Movement 1848-1998," Accessed Sep 10th 2006, available at http://www.legacy98.org/move-hist.html

James Brewer Stewart, 'Abolitionist Movement', Accessed Sep 9th 2006, available at http://afgen.com/abmovement.html

NPS, 'National Abolitionist Movement', Accessed Sep 9th 2006, available at http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/amistad/connecticutabolitionists.htm

Girl Power, 'Spotlight of Mrs. Rosa Parks, Mother of Civil Rights Movement', Accessed Sep 10th 2006, Available at, http://www.girlpower.gov/girlarea/gpguests/RosaParks.htm

Ira Chernus, 'American Nonviolence: The History of an Idea', Accessed Sep 10th 2006, available at http://spot.colorado.edu/~chernus/NonviolenceBook/Abolitionists.htm

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