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  1. 1. Central New York …Hotbed of Abolitionism
  2. 2. What Did Anti-Slavery Advocates Want? The Anti-slavery movement was not monolithic. It included: – Gradualists – Immediatists – Abolitionists
  3. 3. Who Were the Abolitionists?Abolitionists wanted the – immediate, – uncompensated emancipation of – all slaves. Frederick Douglass
  4. 4. William Lloyd Garrison • Boston • The Liberator, 1831 • Organized New England Anti-Slavery Society, 1832
  5. 5. The Second “Great Awakening” in the “Burned-Over District”“No more impressive revival has occurred in American history.” Whitney Cross The Burned Over District
  6. 6. “Oneida County was the birthplace of what has beencalled the Second Great Awakening. If the First GreatAwakening influenced the founding of the nation, thisSecond Great Awakening helped to determine the greatreform movements of the 19th century and influenceddramatically the great debate on slavery which ended inthe Civil War. 1826 in Oneida County was a portentousmoment for the history of the United States.” Richard L. Manzelmann, “Revivalism and Reform”
  7. 7. “Most scholars agree that it was revivalism as it cameout of Oneida County with Charles Finney and hiscohorts that played the crucial role in the 19th century.Revivalism added an urgency, an energy, a moral andtheological imperative to reform that the cool andgeneral philosophy of the Enlightenment could notsupply.” Richard L. Manzelmann, “Revivalism and Reform” Charles Grandison Finney
  8. 8. “The dominant force behindreform in the 1830s was atremendous evangelicalreligious revival generated byone of the greatest preachersof his day, the ReverendCharles Grandison Finney.” C. S. Griffin, The Ferment of Reform, 1830-1860
  9. 9. Rev. Charles Grandison Finney• Raised in Oneida County• Preached individual responsibility for salvation and redemption
  10. 10. “Mankind will not act until they are excited.” Charles Grandison Finney“It is the business of thechurch to reform the world,to put away every sin.” Charles Grandison Finney
  11. 11. Rev. Finney’s Evangelism• Invited to New York Mills by George Andrews, superintendent at the textile mills, in 1826.• First preached in New York Mills school house, and the next day in the Walcott & Campbell spinning mill.• Led to flood of membership in local Methodist and Presbyterian Churches.• Later spoke to large audiences in Utica.• One of his converts was Theodore Weld.
  12. 12. Gerrit Smith• Born in Utica, 1797• Son of pioneer merchant, land speculator and slave owner• Moved to Peterboro, 1806• Hamilton College, 1818• Wife related to Robert E. Lee and Fitzhugh Lee.
  13. 13. • Supported many reform movements• Supported the American Colonization Society• Believed slavery incompatible with the very definition of law• A biographer said he practiced "Bible politics”• Gave away more than $8 million to various causes, especially anti-slavery movement
  14. 14. “He is an honest, brave,kind-hearted Christianphilanthropist, whosereligion is not put asidewith his Sunday cloak, butlasts him clear through theweek.” Horace GreeleyWriting about Gerrit Smith in the New York Tribune
  15. 15. The Abolitionists are nothingmore than “misguidedphilanthropists” whose actionsare “little short of treason. Theslavery question should not bediscussed since slavery isconstitutional and sincediscussion will only provokesectional rifts that wouldotherwise disappear.” Utica Common Council, 1832
  16. 16. Second Presbyterian Church, Utica• Built in 1826• Corner of Bleecker & Charlotte Streets in Utica• Site of first meeting of the New York State Anti-Slavery Society in 1835
  17. 17. The petitioners pray theCouncil “not submit to theindignation of an abolitionassemblage being held in apublic building of the city …developed to be used forsalutary public objects andnot as a receptacle fordeluded fanatics or restlessincendiaries.” Petition to Utica Common Councilagainst granting permission for an anti-slavery meeting, 1835
  18. 18. They “intended to insult us …to degrade the character of thecity in the esteem of the world… to treat us with the utmostcontempt--insult us to ourfaces. The laws of proprietyforbid that they should comehere. We are to be picked outas the head-quarters ofAbolitionism in the state ofNew York. Rather than this, Iwould almost as soon see it[the city] swept from the face ofthe earth, or sunk as low asSodom and Gomorrah!” Congressman Samuel Beardsley, Beardsley Utica
  19. 19. October 21, 1835 • First meeting of the New York Anti-Slavery Society with between 300 and 400 delegates. • Disturbance, mobs, yelling, abuse, threats of violence prevented speakers from continuing. • Gerrit Smith rose and said he was not an abolitionist, but believed in fair play. Invited them to reconvene at Peterboro the next day.
  20. 20. “Resolved, That the rightof free discussion, givento us by God, and assertedand guarded by the lawsof our country, is a rightso vital to mans freedom,and dignity, andusefulness, that we cannever be guilty of itssurrender, withoutconsenting to exchangethat freedom for slavery,and that dignity andusefulness fordebasement andworthlessness.” Gerrit Smith
  21. 21. Gerrit Smith Home
  22. 22. Gerrit Smith Mansion
  23. 23. “Now is the time for menwho have souls to speakout.” Gerrit SmithSlavery is “robbery, andthe worst species of it for itplunders its victim, not ofgoods and money, but ofhis body, his mind, hissoul.” Gerrit Smith
  24. 24. Gerrit Smith &Frederick Douglass
  25. 25. Gerrit Smith• Many consider him and William Lloyd Garrison on a par, with Garrison the leader in New England and Smith in Middle Atlantic and Midwestern states.• Used Bible to denounce slavery.• Used some of his fortune to purchase freedom of slaves.• Reward of $20,000 put on his head by a radical Southerner.
  26. 26. 1836 • Theodore Weld delivered 16 lectures in Utica to overflow crowds. • Reportedly 600 people joined the Utica Anti-Slavery Society. • 184 enrolled in Rome Anti-Slavery Society • 100 people formed a Young People’s Anti-Slavery Society in New York Mills. • 1,200 names appeared on a petition to Congress to abolish slavery in theTheodore Weld District of Columbia.
  27. 27. 1836• William Goodell established the anti- slavery newspaper The Friend of Man in Utica.• 6 Uticans elected to the Executive Committee of the New York Anti- Slavery Society, and to offices of vice president, corresponding secretary, recording secretary and treasurer.• Stunning victory for the anti-slavery forces.
  28. 28. “The New York abolitionistleaders were radical. Theyheld ideas which wereradical in substance —specifically, immediateemancipation and politicaland economic equality forblacks. … they experienceda total commitment toabolitionism.” Gerald Sorin The New York Abolitionists
  29. 29. “Abolitionism in Utica andits environs was sparked bysome of the nation’s mostimportant advocates ofimmediatism.” Edward Magdol The Antislavery Rank and File
  30. 30. Presbyterian Church, Whitesboro• 1835: resolution condemning slavery as "a sin against God and man.”• Called on slaveholding states to free their slaves voluntarily• Slavery question divided congregation.
  31. 31. Presbyterian Church, New York Mills• Considerable turnover in ministers who were not radical enough for the congregation.• Rev. Ira Pettibone, an outspoken “immediatist,” frequently asked Rev. Beriah Green to address congregation.• Passed resolution “strongly denouncing slavery” that formed “as decided a document as the most radical might ask” (Rev. Austin).
  32. 32. New York Mills Anti-Slavery Petition, 1837
  33. 33. Welsh Anti-Slavery Petition, 1837
  34. 34. Rev. George Washington Gale • Converted Finney to Abolitionist cause • Founded Oneida Institute in 1827 to prepare Finney’s converts for Ministry • Unique combination of work and study used as a model by many, including Oberlin
  35. 35. Oneida Institute of Science and Industry Whitesboro First educational institution in the country to enroll black and white students on an equal basis.
  36. 36. Rev. Beriah Green• 1795-1874• Clergyman, Educator, Abolitionist• President of Oneida Institute in 1834
  37. 37. Oneida Institute• Board of Directors heavily represented from Utica, Whitesboro & New York Mills.• Supported financially by Benjamin Walcott of New York Mills.• Enrolled both black and white students.• Vied with Oberlin College as leader in African education.
  38. 38. Theodore Weld• Son of conservative Presbyterian minister in Cazenovia• Education paid for by British anti-slavery leader Charles Stuart• Lecturer on temperance and moral reform• Argued against slavery as a sin against religion
  39. 39. Rev. Jermain W. Loguen • From Rochester • Prominent in the movement to colonize Liberia • Began school for black children in Utica • Minister in African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
  40. 40. Rev. Alexander Crummel • Active in organizing the New York Association for the Political Improvement of Colored People • Earned baccalaureate from Queens College, Cambridge, England • Became Episcopal minister
  41. 41. • Two decades as missionary in Liberia• Quarter century as rector of St. Lukes Episcopal Church in Washington, DC
  42. 42. Rev. Henry Highland Garnet • Acclaimed public speaker • Member of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society • Joined Liberty Party and fought for Black franchise in NY State • Assisted escaping slaves on the
  43. 43. • Presbyterian minister in Britain, Scotland and West Indies• Supported American Colonization Society• In 1854 to Liberia as U.S. Minister Resident; later held same post in Liberia in 1880s
  44. 44. “Voluntary submission to slavery is a sin. It is yoursolemn and imperative duty to use every means ... moral,intellectual, and physical, that promises success. Youshould all stop working. If they then commence the workof death, they and not you will be responsible for theconsequences.” Henry Highland Garnet, Convention of the Free People of Color, Buffalo, New York, 1843
  45. 45. Garnet vs. Frederick Douglass • Garnet advocated slave uprising at the Convention in Buffalo, 1843 • Douglass urged moderation • Douglass purchased The North Star in Rochester and surpassed Garnet as the chief African-American
  46. 46. Theodore Weld • Advocate of “Agency System” of identifying local anti-slavery agents • Leading recruiter and trainer of local agents • Helped organize the first nationwide petition campaign. • Wrote abolitionism’s most famous
  47. 47. William Goodell• Editor of Genius of Temperance, Boston, 1830-33• Editor of Emancipator, official organ of the American Anti-Slavery Society 1833-36• Settled in Utica in to edit The Friend of Man, 1836- 42
  48. 48. Gerrit Smith and William Goodell were instrumental in organizing the Liberty party in New York State in 1840. “In this section a Liberty party convention is an Abolitionconvention, and an Abolition convention a Liberty partyconvention. Gerrit Smith to Salmon P. Chase, May 31, 1842
  49. 49. Compromise of 1850
  50. 50. • Admission of California• Popular Sovereignty• Fugitive Slave Laws
  51. 51. Kansas-Nebraska Debate Popular Sovereignty Repealed Missouri Compromise Further Sectionalized Nation “Beecher’s Bibles” “Border Ruffians”
  52. 52. “Popular Sovereignty”“Forcing Slavery Down the Throat of a Freesoiler”
  53. 53. Stephen A. Douglas is a "demagogue," a "scavenger," a "second Benedict Arnold," an "enemy of Liberty.” Utica Herald
  54. 54. Oneida County’s Response• 400 names on petition against the act in Rome• 755 names on petition against the act in Utica• Petitions from New Hartford, Whitesboro, New York Mills, Remsen, Prospect, and elsewhere in Oneida County• In Whitesboro Stephen A. Douglas was hung in effigy and then burned in a tar barrel.
  55. 55. “The traitor Douglas will be ordered down at 8this evening and burned in a tar barrel at thestake. By order of the Guard of Liberty. Whitesboro, June 15, 1854.P.S. A band is expected to play the rogues marchand other appropriate airs on this occasion, forthe Prince of Doughfaces and enemy of Liberty.” Utica Morning Herald
  56. 56. Dred Scott Decision• “Surely there can be fewer great monstrosities than the proposition that one race has the right to enslave another.” - Roscoe Conkling• "A new code of political ethics is pronounced: a new theory of Government has been discovered. It is not a Republic, but a Despotism we are living under. The Constitution is not a chart of freedom, but an instrument of Bondage. The object of the Government is not to protect the liberties of the People, but to further the interests of Slavery. It is not Freedom that is national, but Slavery.” - Utica Herald
  57. 57. The “Secret Six”
  58. 58. Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe • Born in Boston • Graduated from Brown Univ. and Harvard Medical School • Director, Perkins Institute for the Blind • Developed system of Braille and published first Braille New Testament • “I do not like caution. It betokens little faith in God’s arrangements.”
  59. 59. Franklin B. Sanborn • Born in New Hampshire • Graduate of Harvard • Opened a college preparatory school in Concord, NH • His “quiet, steadfast earnestness and ethical fortitude are of the type that calmly, so calmly, ignites and then throws bomb after bomb” (Henry David Thoreau).
  60. 60. George Luther Sterns • Medford, MA • Prosperous businessman • Backed Charles Sumner’s political career • Fugitive Slave Act: Purchased revolver and vowed “no runaway will be taken from my premises.”
  61. 61. Rev. Theodore Parker • Born in Boston • Harvard Divinity School • Believed in God’s “Higher Law” • Outspoken abolitionist • “All the great charters of humanity are writ in blood and must continue to be for some centuries.”
  62. 62. Thomas Wentworth Higginson • Harvard Divinity School • Believed clergy had an obligation to promote reform • Supported Parker’s “Higher Law” philosophy • Exceptionally radical • 1854 led assault on Boston jail to free fugitive slave • Thereafter supported disunion
  63. 63. Gerrit Smith • Annual income in excess of $60,000 (over $1 million today) • A founder of the anti- slavery Liberty Party in 1840 • Endorsed African repatriation and compensated emancipation, but soon rejected both
  64. 64. • Benefactor of Oberlin College• Set aside 120,000 acres near Lake Placid to resettle ex- slaves. – About 3,000 small farms. – Franklin, Essex, Hamilton, Fulton, Oneida, Delaware, Madison and Ulster Counties. – Each deed was 40 to 60 acres. – Many were valuable for the timber growing on them.
  65. 65. John Brown• Failed at business and farming• To Kansas in 1855 with his five sons• Sack of Lawrence• Pottawatomie Massacre
  66. 66. “Bleeding Kansas”
  67. 67. “Captain John Brown,I have known you many years, and have highly esteemedyou as long as I have known you. I know yourunshrinkable bravery, your self-sacrificing benevolence,your devotion to the cause of freedom, and have longknown them. May heaven preserve your life and health,and prosper your noble purposes!” Gerrit Smith, 1856
  68. 68. “Much as I abhor war, I nevertheless believe that thereare instances when the shedding of blood isunavoidable. … The slave will be delivered by theshedding of blood and the signs are multiplying that hisdeliverance is at hand.” Gerrit Smith to Joshua Giddings, 1858
  69. 69. “For several years I have frequently given him moneytowards sustaining him in his conquests with the slave-power. Whenever he shall embark in another of thesecontests I shall again stand ready to help him; and I willbegin with giving him a hundred dollars. I do not wish toknow Captain Brown’s plans. I hope he will keep themto himself.” Gerrit Smith to Franklin B. Sanborn, Summer,1858
  70. 70. • Believed slavery could be ended only by the sword• Rented farm in Maryland• 17 white & 5 black recruits• 18 men to arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia• No plans or supplies
  71. 71. Harper’s Ferry
  72. 72. The Engine House
  73. 73. Storming the Engine House
  74. 74. John Brown Prison
  75. 75. “I am worth inconceivably more to hang than for anyother purpose.” John Brown to Family“I John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of thisguilty land will never be purged away but with Blood.” John Brown Note to Jailer December 2, 1859
  76. 76. John Brown Home North Elba, NY
  77. 77. John Brown Grave
  78. 78. John Brown “will make the gallows as glorious as the cross.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  79. 79. “No breath of shame can touch his shieldNor ages dim its shineLiving, he made life beautifulDying, made death divine.” Louisa May Alcott
  80. 80. Northern abolitionists “designed to slaughter sleepingSouthern men and their awakened wives and children.” Edmund Ruffin
  81. 81. “The day ofcompromise is passed.” Charleston Mercury
  82. 82. • When Brown was captured a canceled check for $100 from Gerrit Smith was found in his pocket• Warrant issued for Smith’s arrest• Armed neighbors and blacks surrounded his house to defend him• Smith “suffered a breakdown”• Committed to the New York State Lunatic Asylum in Utica (an institution he financially supported)
  83. 83. Conclusions• Oneida County was one of the first areas in the nation to actively support anti-slavery initiatives and more radical abolitionism.• Oneida County held a place of prominence in the development of the abolitionism movement nationally, and the shaping of the anti-slavery debate.
  84. 84. THEEND