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A "peculiar institution"
A phrase used by whites in the antebellum South to refer to slavery without using the word "slavery."
Second Middle Passage
A mass trade of slaves within the US to replace the original importation of slaves from Africa (halted in 1808) from the old slave states to newer slave states in the lower South from the 1820s to 1860s.
"Cotton is King"
Phrase from Senator James Henry Hammond's speech extolling the virtues of cotton and implicitly, the slave system of production that led to its bounty for the South. "King Cotton" became a shorthand for southern political and economic power.
An idea that justified slavery by identifying the owner as one who takes care of his property. Slaves were deprived of liberty for their own "good."
The series of arguments defending the institution of slavery in the South as a positive good, not a necessary evil. The arguments included the racist belief that black people were inherently inferior to white people as well as the belief that slavery, in creating a permanent underclass of laborers, made freedom possible for whites. Other elements of the argument included biblical citations.
Runaway slaves who fled to the North, cities in the Lower South, or remote areas inhabited by Native Americans. Many were faced with immense difficulty and most were young men. This threatened the institution of slavery.
A loose organization of abolitionists who helped transport fugitive slaves to the North by moving them from "station" to "station."
Former slave who was a key player in the underground railroad, risking her life to help slaves find freedom in the North.
The ship which was seized by slaves and was later captured by a US ship. Although President van Buren thought that the slaves should be returned to Cuba, most slaves made their way back to Africa supported by John Quincy Adams and abolitionists after they brought the case to the supreme court.
Denmark Vesey's Conspiracy
(1822) A failed slave uprising in Charleston, SC supposedly led by a free black who tried to find anti-slavery sentiment in the Bible and the DoI. It represented a mix of African and American influences.
Nat Turner's Rebellion
(1831) A slave rebellion in VA led by Nat Turner which killed 60 whites but was put down by the militia. It made VA and other slave states tighten their control on slavery, rather than getting rid of the institution.
Ideal communities that offered innovative social and economic relationships to those who were interested in achieving salvation.
Utopian community founded in 1848; the Perfectionist religious group practiced "complex marriage" under leader John Humphrey Noyes.
Transcendentalist commune in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, populated from 1841 to 1847 principally by writers (Nathaniel Hawthorne, for one) and other intellectuals
Social reform movement of the nineteenth century driven by the belief that by establishing small communities based on common ownership of property, a less competitive and less individualistic society could be developed.
Community founded in Indiana by British industrialist Robert Owen in 1825; the short-lived New Harmony Community of Equality was one of the few nineteenth-century communal experiments not based on religious ideology.
The idea that social ills once considered incurable could in fact be eliminated, popularized by the religious revivalism of the nineteenth century.
A widespread reform movement, led by militant Christians, focused on reducing the use of alcoholic beverages.
Tax-supported state schools of the early nineteenth century open to all children
American Colonization Society
Organized in 1816 to encourage colonization of free blacks to Africa; West African nation of Liberia founded in 1822 to serve as a homeland for them
American Anti-Slavery Society
Founded in 1833, the organization that sought an immediate end to slavery and the establishment of equality for black Americans. It split in 1840 after disputes about the role of women within the organization and other issues.
The abolitionist strategy that sought to end slavery by persuading both slave-owners and complicit northerners that the institution was evil.
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 antislavery novel that popularized the abolitionist position
"gentlemen of property and standing"
Well-to-do merchants who often had commercial ties to the South and resisted abolitionism, occasionally inciting violence against its adherents.
Rule adopted by House of Representatives in 1836 prohibiting consideration of abolitionist petitions; opposition, led by former president John Quincy Adams, succeeded in having it repealed in 1844
An important figure in increasing the public's awareness of the plight of the mentally ill. After a two-year investigation of the treatment of the mentally ill in Massachusetts, she presented her findings and won the support of leading reformers. She eventually convinced twenty states to reform their treatment of the mentally ill.
Movement to give women the right to vote through a constitutional amendment, spearheaded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton's National Woman Suffrage Association
Term that entered the lexicon in the early twentieth century to describe the movement for full equality for women, in political, social, and personal life.
Abolitionist political party that nominated James G. Birney for president in 1840 and 1844; merged with the Free Soil Party in 1848.