“So long as the law considers all these human beings, with beating hearts and living affections, only as so many things belonging to the master — so long as the failure, or misfortune, or imprudence, or death of the kindest owner, may cause them any day to exchange a life of kind protection and indulgence for one of hopeless misery and toil — so long it is impossible to make anything beautiful or desirable in the best-regulated administration of slavery.”
In chapter one in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Stowe wrote, “So long as the law considers all these human beings…,– so long as the failure, or misfortune, or imprudence, or death of the kindest owner…. so long it is impossible to make anything beautiful or desirable…” (pg 51 Uncle Tom’s Cabin). Slavery was the biggest issue involved during 1700s to 1900s. The Founding Fathers hoped that slavery would disappear in the 1800s. Opposite from what they had hoped, it caused the citizens of one state to dislike each other because of the different opinions about the slaves, which resulted in the Civil War.
The American Civil War occurred when eleven southern slave states seceded and formed Confederate States of America to fight for their independence against the Union. The Union concluded 20 northern free states with five slave states called the border states. There were many events that could have contributed to this war but only two had the most powerful affects: Fugitive Slave Law and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The Fugitive Slave Law, passed by the United States Congress, declared that all the runway slaves must be bought back to their masters. While on the other side, the novel by Harriet, Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” was an anti-slavery novel written by an abolitionist to let Northerners realize how badly slaves were treated. Within the countless causes to the Civil War, the Fugitive Slave Law and the novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, had the greatest impact on both the North and the South.
As more slaves escaped from their owners’ plantations and went to northern states, the owners of the fugitive slaves were upset. The Fugitive Slave Law, passed in September 1850 to please free southerners, only created greater malcontentedness among the slaves and the northerners. Because the Fugitive Slave Act passed in 1793 was weakened, it was now illegal for any Federal marshals or officials to help slaves to escape. The law stated that Federal marshals or officials would have to pay a fine of $1000 if they did not arrest the fugitive slaves. However, officials who captured a fugitive slave were given an award and the chance of getting promoted for their jobs. This new law upset most of the northerners, including Howard Zinn, who once said, “The Fugitive Slave Act was a flagrant example of Northern and federal collaboration with slaveholders, a lightning rod that led to the growth of the anti-slavery movement.” (thinkexist.com). These people, also known as abolitionists, were encouraged to fight for the law and choose what they believed to be moral. Disagreements among northerners and southerners about slaves began to expand quickly.
The novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, also called Life Among the Lowly, was written before the American Civil War. The author’s purpose of writing this novel was to tell the northerners how cruelly south slaves were treated. During the Civil War, the book greatly increased northerner’s oppositions to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Abraham Lincoln, who met the author, Harriet Stowe, in 1852, said, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war” (tripod.com)! Life Among the Lowly greatly inspired the abolitionists to abolish the slavery. The book itself was really emotional and persuasive since it was the first novel in America literature to have a black person as the main character and a complicated storyline for slaves. After reading or hearing about this novel, the northerners tried to abolish slavery completely while the southerners tried their hardest to keep the slavery for their plantation and industrial uses.