From Ohio History Central
Because ''Uncle Tom's Cabin'' was a work of fiction, Stowe was criticized for her allegedly inaccurate portrayal of slavery. Stowe's novel was based on extensive research with former slaves and with active participants, white and black, with the Underground Railroad. Despite the criticism, the book became a bestseller. An abolitionist newspaper, ''The National Era'', 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 Northerners. It did not necessarily make these people devoted abolitionists, but the book began to move 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 purportedly stated, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War!" While Stowe did not start the war, ''Uncle Tom's Cabin'' did increase the differences between the North and the South. Many Northerners realized how unjust slavery was for the first time. With increasing opposition to slavery, Southern slave owners worked even harder to defend the institution. The stage was set for the American Civil War.