Mohammad Rabah Harriet Beecher Stowe and Other Influences on the Civil War Harriet Beecher Stowe's book Uncle Tom's Cabin is often seen as a primary influence of the Civil War. She showed just how terrible and difficult the life of a slave really was.
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The hardships suffered by them showed just how cruel and terrifying the life of a slave could be. Never before had a novel emphasized the terrible conditions slaves lived under like Uncle Tom's Cabin. Tom's story shows both the good and bad in how white people had treated their slaves, and his noble and heroic characteristics shed a new light on slaves who were often looked down upon. Therefor much turmoil was caused amongst slave holders in the south for this made them look cruel, like Simon Legree, who had beaten Tom to death in the story.
The story also shows the tension caused in slave families when they would be torn apart due to family members being sold, which is why Eliza and her husband George fled north to Canada. All of these dramatic events in the story led many people to push towards ending slavery. Uncle Tom's Cabin also influenced white northerners to house escaping slaves due to all the trouble they had to go through to get freed. Not only did the book influence people living in the US, it also revealed the inhumanity of slavery to people all around the world, selling three million copies world wide (Smith).
Such a widespread influential book also upset the south, for slavery was a major part of how they made money and it had now been revealed to the public how crudely they treated their slaves. Rising tensions about the topic are seen as one of the major factor leading to the Civil War. It is said that when Stowe met president Abraham Lincoln in November 25, 1862 he said, “so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war” (Smith). Although Harriet Beecher Stowe was a major influence on the Civil War there were also quit a few other reasons as well.
The other main reasons are the control of the government, economy, states' rights, abolitionism, and the election of 1860. Although the focus revolved around slavery a lot of the tension that led to the war was from how the South felt it had no power when it came to making decisions. “As new states were added to the Union, a series of compromises were arrived at to maintain an equal number of “free” and “slave” states” (Hickman 1). However; as new states were added they were all being declared “free” states without the South having any say in the matter.
Fearing they were losing power the South turned to the states' rights argument, stating that the federal government didn't have the right to change the laws of slavery in states whom already own slaves (Ayers). Things grew worse during the abolitionist movements which called for an end for slavery, whether it be immediate or gradual. This caused many disputes among the people which often led to biblical disputes (Hickman1). Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin should the cruelty of the Fugitive Slave Act and gave support to the abolitionist movement.
The election of 1860 was the final straw. With the election of Abraham Lincoln as president, they feared all was about to change. “The North with its growing population and increased electoral power had achieved what the South had always feared: complete control of the government by the free states”(Hickman 2). After the election the South immediately began to discuss seceding from the Union. The secession of the South was the ultimate leading factor for the North to go to war, in order to keep the country united (Ayers).
Therefor, there were a multitude of reasons for the Civil War. Harriet Beecher Stowe's book Uncle Tom's Cabin sparked rage in the South and inspired abolitionists, which ultimately led to the Civil War. Though centered about the institution of slavery, the Civil War was also massively influenced by the fact that the South felt it had little to no say as to what happened in the government
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