Uncle Tom’s Cabin: A Controversial Book

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was a very controversial book. People in the North and the South reacted differently to the book. North realized just how bad slave life was but Southerns just tried harder to justify the establishment.

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This book gave me more of an insight on the topic of slavery because throughout my schooling history we didn’t get too in depth on it. This book is extremely sad but it also has a lot of happiness for the slaves who make it out and survive. In this essay I am going to talk about how this book shaped my opinion on slavery, the feelings of the North, and the feelings of the South.

        Now that I’m in college I’m learning a lot more things more in depth. In high school and middle school there are a lot of things that they choose to not talk about.

Of course I knew about slavery, who doesn’t? I just didn’t realize it was such a big problem. Not going to lie, I used to think it was annoying that people brought up slavery still because everyone was enslaved at one point but this book made me so sad to read how these people were being treated. Also in class learning about how it was such a big issue to the South to let go of their slaves. They wanted to keep them and some slave owners had hundreds and hundreds. A lot of slave owners treated their slaves very horrible but I learned that some also treated them relatively well. They didn’t have many freedoms and they were being forced to work for literally nothing. Sure, they had a place to live and were given food but they didn’t actually get anything out of it and they were being held captive on these plantations. You couldn’t run away because there were slave catchers and sometimes they would actually be murdered for running away. This book made me extremely sad. Tom was such a nice and honest guy and he was murdered by his new owner for encouraging two girls to escape. Then, right after his old owners son comes to free him but it is too late because he has already died. He was so close to freedom without even knowing it and then he was murdered. I now understand why people say it was so bad because it was. I wish slavery never happened, it was so wrong.

        The North didn’t have slaves and they weren’t worried too much about them, most wouldn’t report them if they seen them in the North even though it was a possibility that they were runaways. most Northerners had never witnessed slavery firsthand. Most Northern whites had no idea of how brutal slavery could be. (Ohio History Central). Most whites in the North didn’t know just how bad slavery was but this book shined a light on how bad it actually was. “Slavery, anti-slavery in the North was a very unpopular topic. She brought it to the hearts of millions of northerners and at the same time, she made southerners come to the defense of slavery to a degree they never had before, so she sharpened the debate. She crystallized that debate that led to the Civil War ”  (Reynolds). This book helped more people want to outlaw slavery because this book showcased what some slaves were going through on a daily basis. The North became to sympathize more with slavery. Even if they were already anti-slavery most people in the North weren’t actually very open about it because it was still a controversial topic. Uncle Tom’s Cabin shaped the political scene by making the North, formerly largely hostile for the anti-slavery reform, far more open to it than it had been. The novel … directly paved the way for the public’s openness to an antislavery candidate like Lincoln. (Reynolds). Uncle Tom’s Cabin created a sort of revolution in the North of them supporting anti-slavery openly. This made it easier for a candidate like Lincoln to get in office because there was more people against than for slavery. The North was officially against slavery and it caused great problems between them and the South.

        The South did not want to give up their slaves. They wanted to keep them and did not think it was wrong to do so. The outrage caused by Stowe’s book in South was significant because it exemplified the schism between what southerners thought about northerners, what northerners thought about southerners, and the truth. (History Engine). The South tried to argue that the North had the same prejudices as them but this book and the reactions from the two different sides choose to prove otherwise. The South believed that Stowe was over exaggerating on just how bad slavery was in the South. Stowe claims to have did extensive research before writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin. A little Yankee woman wrote a book. The single act of that woman’s will caused the war, killed a million men, desolated and ruined the South, and changed the history of the world. (Dixon)

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