Stowe Research Paper

Submitted By hbwallace
Words: 588
Pages: 3

Harriet, a precocious and fiercely intelligent child, grew up in Connecticut, a decidedly anti-slavery state. The America in which Harriet was born was an America already beginning to show the strains of economic and social division. The North, built on industry and invention-steel mills and banking, for example- could not differ more from the laid-back, pastoral South, where slave labor brought prosperity to those who exploited it. But while antislavery sentiments grew more and more impassioned in border states like Ohio, the Northern states of New England were far enough away from the reality of slavery to provide a kind of buffer. Slavery was something to theorize about, not to confront. When Harriet and her family moved to Ohio when she was in her early twenties, however, she saw the horrors of slavery firsthand, and was exposed to people who held strong opinions on the institution. She joined a literary club in Cincinnati called the Semi-Colon club where she met her future husband, the brilliant Biblical scholar Calvin Ellis Stowe. Harriet's interest in the anti-slavery cause increased, and in 1833, when she was twenty-two, Harriet visited a slave plantation across the Ohio River in Kentucky. She was horrified by what she witnessed, and the events and scenes were burned into her brain, simmering there for nearly twenty years. Harriet, by this time, was turning out short stories and essays for a Cincinnati magazine called Western Monthly Review. She found, increasingly, her topic was slavery. In 1836, Harriet married Calvin Stowe, and they began their long life together, scraping by and struggling to make ends meet. Using the visit to that Kentucky plantation as a template for Colonel Shelby's plantation in Uncle Tom's Cabin, along with numerous slave accounts and interviews she conducted with ex-slaves, in 1851 and 1852 Harriet finally penned one of the most famous American books of the nineteenth century, published serially in an abolitionist magazine called New Era, and certainly one of the most popular. While basically a morality play, Uncle Tom's Cabin was an attack against an institution that most Southerners had, for over a hundred years, accepted as necessary without question. However, Harriet believed that the Southerners who enslaved blacks were also victims of the institution, as it made them completely dependent upon