A collection of primary sources about the Abolitionist Movement and the Suffrage Movement.
Angelina Grimke, Appeal to the Christian Women of the South, 1836
In 1835, Angelina Grimke found herself deeply disturbed by violent riots and demonstrations against abolitionists and African Americans, as well as by the burning of anti-slavery pamphlets in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. When William Lloyd Garrison published an appeal to citizens of Boston to repudiate all mob violence, Angelina felt compelled to send the noted abolitionist a personal letter of support. “The ground upon which you stand is holy ground,” she told him, “never-never surrender it . . . if you surrender it, the hope of the slave is extinguished.” Agitation for the end to slavery must continue, Angelina declared, even if abolitionists are persecuted and attacked because, as she put it, “This is a cause worth dying for.” Garrison published Angelina’s letter.
Catharine Beecher, Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism, 1837
In this letter to her friend, Catharine Beecher wrote about how women should call for change. It was in response to a speaking tour by Angelina and Sarah Grimké, Southern sisters from a slaveholding family. In it, Beecher explained the different roles men and women played in creating change. While Beecher believed that women should be subordinate to men, she felt that women could still play an important role. She wrote, “while woman holds a subordinate relation in society to the other sex, it is not because it was designed that her duties or her influence should be any the less important, or all−pervading.” A woman should “win every thing by peace and love; by making herself so much respected, esteemed and loved, that to yield to her opinions and to gratify her wishes will be the free." Additionally, Beecher felt that women should not reach beyond their social or domestic circle; men should be the ones to interact within the political sphere.
Maria Stewart, Lecture Delivered at Franklin Hall, Boston 1832
National Women's History Museum 205 S. Whiting Street, Suite 254, Alexandria, Virginia 22304 | 703.461.1920 | womenshistory.org