Harriet B. Stowe

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<p>In 1850, Calvin Stowe accepted a position at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. While in Maine Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote <em>Uncle Tom's Cabin</em>. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 inspired her to write the novel. She objected to the federal government actively assisting slave owners in their efforts to reclaim fugitive slaves in Northern states. Like William Lloyd Garrison, Stowe realized that most Northerners had never witnessed slavery firsthand. Most Northern people had no idea how brutal slavery could be. Through <em>Uncle Tom's Cabin</em>, Stowe sought to humanize slavery. She wanted to educate them about the brutalities of the institution. She hoped that her readers would rise up against slavery if they understood the beatings, the brutality, and the division of families that sometimes occurred. </p>
<p>Because <em>Uncle Tom's Cabin</em> was a work of fiction, Stowe was criticized for her supposedly inaccurate portrayal of slavery. Stowe's novel was based on extensive research with former slaves and with active participants, both whites and blacks, with the Underground Railroad. Despite the criticism, the book became a bestseller. An abolitionist newspaper, <em>The National Era</em>, originally published the book as a serial in 1851 and 1852. In 1852, the story was published in book form and sold more than 500,000 copies in its first five years in print. It brought slavery to life for many people. The book did not make these people into devoted abolitionists, but <em>Uncle Tom's Cabin</em> did cause more and more Northerners to consider ending the institution of slavery. In 1862, Stowe met President Abraham Lincoln while she was visiting Washington, DC. Lincoln reportedly said, &quot;So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War!&quot; </p>
<p>Stowe became an instant celebrity thanks to <em>Uncle Tom's Cabin</em>. She traveled extensively to promote her book and encouraged other people to protest slavery. In 1853, she moved with her husband to Andover, Massachusetts, where Calvin Stowe had accepted a teaching position at the Andover Theological Seminary. He retired in 1864, and the Stowes moved to Hartford, Connecticut. She continued to write and published thirty books before her death in 18931896.</p>
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