AbolitionistsThe Two Harriets.docx - The Two Harriets...

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The Two Harriets, Heroines of AbolitionMany people fought against slavery in the United States. They were called abolitionists because they wanted to abolish (get rid of) slavery. Two of the best-known abolitionists were both named Harriet: Harriet Beecher Stowe and Harriet Tubman.Harriet Beecher Stowe was the sixth of 11 children born to a minister and his wife. She was just five years old when her mother died. At age 13, she started going to a school founded by her sister, where she learned to be a teacher and started writing. She wrote her first book at age 22.In 1852, her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabinwas published. It quickly became a bestseller. Indeed, it was the most popular book in America. Although the book was fiction, it was based on the lives of real people. The novel tells the story of several slaves, but its main character is Tom, a man with a wife and children. Tom is separated from his family and sold to one plantation owner after another. The last of his owners is a cruel man named Simon Legree. Legree orders Tom to beat the other slaves on his plantation. Tom refuses, so Legree beats Tom. Legree orders his hired hands, called overseers, to kill Tom. While Tom dies, several of the other characters in the book escape from slavery by traveling northto Canada via what was called the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was not an actual railroad, but a network of people who helped shelter and guide slaves to their freedom.Stowe’s novel moved many readers and inspired them to speak out against slavery. Many plays were performed based on the novel’s characters. But her book angered people in the South, and historians believe it helped lead the Southern states to break away from the North a decade later, which marked the
beginning of the Civil War. Uncle Tom’s Cabinwas so influential that when

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