It does seem to me that systems of gradual emancipation might be adopted; but for their tardiness in this I will not undertake to judge our brethren of the South. When they remind us of their constitutional rights, I acknowledge them, not grudgingly but fully and fairly. And I would give them any legislation for the re- claiming of their fugitives which should not, in its stringency, be more likely to carry a free man into slavery than our ordinary criminal laws are to hang an innocent one. 3. The Abolitionists Provoke War ( 1882) Tbe abolitionists were often accused of having precipitated the Civil War. In his mem- oirs Frederick Douglass, the remarkable ex-slave and abolitionist agitator, pleads partly guilty to the indictment. How correct was his assumption as to who were the aggressors? The abolitionists of this country have been charged with bringing on the war between the North and South, and in one sense this is true. Had there been no anti- slavery agitation at the North, there would have been no active anti-slavery any- where to resist the demands of the Slave Power at the South, and where there is no resistance there can be no war. Slavery would then have been nationalized, and the whole country would then have been subjected to its power. Resistance to slavery and the extension of slavery invited and provoked secession and war to perpetuate and extend the slave system. Thus, in the same sense, England is responsible for our Civil War. The abolition of slavery in the West Indies gave life and vigor to the abolition movement in Amer- ica. Clarkson of England gave us Garrison of America; Granville Sharp of England gave us our Wendell Phillips; and Wilberforce of England gave us our peerless Charles Sumner.* These grand men and their brave co-workers here took up the moral thunder- bolts which had struck down slavery in the West Indies, and hurled them with in- creased zeal and power against the gigantic system of slavery here, till, goaded to madness, the traffickers in the souls and bodies of men flew to arms, rent asunder the Union at the cepter, and filled the land with hostile armies and the ten thousand horrors of war. Out of this tempest, out of this whirlwind and earthquake of war, came the abolition of slavery, came the employment of colored troops, came col- ored citizens, came colored jurymen, came colored Congressmen, came colored schools in the South, and came the great amendments of our national Constitution. 3 Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (Hartford, Conn.: Park, 1882), p. 607. *Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846\ Granville Sharp (1735-1813), and William Wilberforce (1759-1833) were English abolitionists whose efforts persuaded Parliament to enq the slave trade within the British Empire in 1807. William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879), Wendell Phillips (1811-1884), and Charles Sumner (1811-1874) were leading American abolitionists-all of them, interestingly, from Massachusetts.
376 Chapter 16 Tbe South and the Slavery Controversy, 1 793-1860 E. The Rising White Southern Temper ______________ _ I. Hinton Helper's Banned Book ( 185 7) Hinton R. Helper, an
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