Historical Context of Uncle Tom’s Cabin

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Fictional narrative can have the ability to change history. One of the greatest use of the power fictional narrative brings is Uncle Toms cabin, which made a great impact on americans beliefs in the ninteeth century. Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Toms Cabin, was involved in many religious and feminist causes during the 1850's. Her book impacted the northern states in a remarkable way, by shedding light on the tension over slavery in the southern states. The fictional novel focused on slave life during the 1850's and is thought to be one of the triggers that led to the civil war. The northern states were unaware of the effects of slavery in the south, therefore, Stowe wrote the book as a message that exposed the evils and horrific actions of slavery.

General Historical Context

During the early years, most vulnerable nations and communities across the world were subjected to slavery and harsh working condition by their colonialists among other superior countries such as Roman and Greek empires. In America, Africans who were considered as the abled and healthiest human were imported from the Africa continent to help the nation building. The slaves were denied their rights to freedom of expression while exposing the rebellious slaves to extreme punishment. The slaves in the early 18th century were regarded as a source of cheap labor engaging in sizeable private plantations in the growing of lucrative crops such as cotton, rice, and tobacco. Often, the masters conceptualized and considered the slaves as property, equating them to a flock of livestock which subject to auctioning to other masters at will.[1] During the auction, men and women faced a grieving moment as they received cruel treatment; both men and women required striping for the physical examination infringing on their right to privacy.

The wealthy families with more than 50 acres of land had approximately 50 to 100 slaves working on the farms.[2] Only a small percentage of captives got involved in domestic or other artisans tasks. For the slaves working as domestic servants, their duties included cooking for the family, acting as nursemaids or coachmen. Similarly, a small group of skilled artisans served as blacksmith or building and maintenance personnel in the factories and mills. Due to the harsh working condition and poor diet, a significant number of the slaves lost their lives, many dies after succumbing to injuries and other due to long painful and untreated illness. The enslaved population infants who were not endorsed by their masters died due to poor diet and higher exposer to respiratory diseases, diarrhea, and dysentery among other common ailments. In most territories, a considerable number of Americans considered the act of slavery as a successful initiative since the slaves were a source of cheap labor and therefore guaranteeing a maximum return. However, some of the slaves often forged illness to be exempted from working which intern resulted in reduced production. After the American Revolution begun in the late 17th century, many slaves were able to escape bondage while half of the abled men choose to join the forces. [3] The states on the north which had a different notion regarding slavery abolished slave trade on based of being inhuman. The slave's masters perceiving slavery as a cruel act also enacted on the move to free the slaves embracing the process labelled as manumission.

Historical Issues by the Time of Writing

During the time the book Uncle Tom's Cabin was written, the slave trade was on the rise. More and more vulnerable individuals and groups ended up being plantation slave working under punitive environment. The grief for the parent who lost their families persisted causing intense agony to their lives. In the 1850s, the fugitives who were at liberty to engage in the religious gathering were no longer allowed to worship in the churches together with the white, and consequently, the disbandment of the Negro churches followed. The dismissal of the places of worship indicated that the slaves have no right to worship leading to initiation of a plan to free from the country. The southern region was the most affected with a good number of slaves running to Canada in early 1850s after the introduction of the Fugitive Slave Law which lead to the reduction of the congregation. [4] There as the initiation of several overwhelming debates by the intellectual congress member regarding the never-ending slavery and the notion of putting the act to an end. Delegates from the southern region meet in Nashville with an agenda to address the issue of secession. After the meeting, moderate voices could speak about the idea openly with the recession seemingly becoming a definite possibility. Similarly, during the time of writing, several omnibus bills and laws highlighting on a notion to detach from slavery resulted to division among the Mexican-American territories and led to war after the introduction of regulation by David Wilmot who speculated slavery as illegal and will not permit in the region. [5] In 1849, The California territory which had made tremendous growth during the gold rush petitioned to join the union as a free state but the plea failed as the admission of California would weaken slavery in the southern states but increase the coercive capabilities of the northern region. [6] Also, during the time Harriet Beecher was writing the book, the slaves who chose to move to the north and begin a new life suffered as the law of the day was not in their favor. In many occasions, the slaves who opted to move to the neighboring countries via the Underground Railroad steered by Harriet Tubman had a chance to escape to freedom with the once unlucky being recaptured and reverted to slavery where they were no right to plead whatsoever.

Author Background and the Book Summary

Harriet Beecher Stowe, an American author, well known for the Uncle Tom's Cabin a book covering the aspect of slavery during the early 1850s. Harriet family constituted of educators, ministers, and novelists who influenced her authorship during her early age. Harriet writing talent began in her twenties through her contribution in articles and publication writing. The husband Calvin was also a core contributor to Harriet success by providing both emotional and financial support to the family. In her early life, Harriet becomes angered by the state of slavery in the nation which as a result led to the demise of Lovejoy an articles publisher and a friend after publishing a paper against the intemperance while she was still living in Illinois. Later on, a family member vividly remembers and states Harriet utterances on how she chooses to write a something that would treble the nation and make slave masters guilty of their action of which she did in 1852. [7]

The Uncle Tom's Cabin features an African-American slave Uncle Tom, Harry, Eliza, George, Shelby among others. The Novel begins when the Shelby family decides to sell two of their slave due to the economic difficulties, one being Harry and also Uncle Tom. Uncle Tom a hard-working slave together with Harry and Eliza a slave at Shelby house decides to runs to Canada taking the Underground Railroad to freedom. Mr. Haley discovers Eliza ran and decided to follow her to the river where Eliza jumps from slabs of ice to another until she and Harry reach the other side of the river and receives a warm welcome in a Quaker family. All this time Mr. Shelby and the wife who slept late at night after a lengthy discussion woke up and went toward Eliza's door and after knocking severally the Shelby says I wonder what keeps Eliza, not knowing Eliza had left together with the Tom and Harry. [8] Uncle Tom displays his noble character after being sold to a New Orleans where he becomes friends with Eva, a good-hearted girl who decides to call Uncle Tom, I mean to call you Uncle Tom because I like you, said Eva after he introduced himself as Tom. [9] A girl Tom later saves after falling into the river. As assign of gratitude, Eva's father decides to buy Uncle Tom where he ends up on a plantation and lives a considerably pleasant and comfortable life. Before Eva death, she ensures that her father promises to guarantee the release of all the slaves Uncle Tom being among them. Later after the release of Tom, Shelby finds him before his demise in the hands of George where after severally emphasizing that Degree requires facing the law for killing slaves, George realizes slavery is evil and goes back home to release all the slaves. Harry and Eliza live a good life after their release with Harry enrolling in a school while Cassy, Eliza's' Mother moves to Liberia to join her family. Harriet in his final argument elucidates there rise a need for the Christians from the south and the north to stand firm and condemn the spirit of slavery in America.

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Historical Context of Uncle Tom's Cabin. (2019, Dec 04). Retrieved December 4, 2023 , from

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