Lecture 10/1 and 10/3 Flashcards Preview

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Angelina Grimke Background

Born into a wealth slave-holding family. Her sister Sarah was deeply opposed to slavery, moved north and became a quaker. Angelina followed her moving to Philadelphia.


Purpose of "Appeal to the Christian Women of the South"

Designed to persuade white Christian women of the south of the evils of slavery and convince them to take action in any way necessary to help bring slavery to an end.


Genre of "Appeal to the Christian Women of the South"

Public Letter. Opening words directed as a personal letter. She used a direct personal tone, conversationalist tone

Addressed to Christian women
1. Grimke born and raised in the South, so she tries to convey that she is like them, she has seen the evils of slavery
2. Do their holy duty to stop slavery
3. Ending of the pamphlet is a call to God


Major Arguments in "Appeal to the Christian Women of the South"

i. Bible argument against slavery (3-16)
a. Draws upon Theodore Weld’s bible against slavery
b. Premise and arguments played a powerful role, so the first thing needed to be reached by her audience was through religion
2. Grants that servitude existed among the ancient Hebrews and is taken for granted in the Bible
3. But the kind of servitude that existed among the ancient Hebrews is not the kind of slavery that exists in the American South.
4. The three major differences are:
a. Stealing people to enslave them was forbidden by Jewish law.
b. Hebrew servants were not held in perpetual bondage.
c. Hebrew servants were legally protected against mistreatment by their masters.
5. The God of mercy and truth would not condone the American slavery institution

ii. Four steps Southern women can take to combat slavery (16-28)
1. Read the Bible to see what it says about slavery.
2. Pray on the subject of slavery.
3. Speak out against slavery-especially to men, who have power to take action in the public arena.
4. Act against slavery
a. Free your slaves if you own them.
b. Teach your slaves to read & write.
c. Petition legislatures to abolish slavery.
d. All this is “your duty as women, and as Christian women.”

iii. Defense of abolitionists (28-35)
1. Argued they were act in accordance to the word of God
2. Compared them to Jesus’s Disciples, spreading the word, people calling them crazy
a. They aren’t harmful


Impact of "Appeal to the Christian Women of the South"

In the South, it was a dismal failure Didn't persuade much of anyone to take action.
b. In retrospect, it was foolish to think they could persuade anyone in the south to turn away from such a central social and economic institution.
c. Publicly burned in Charleston, her hometown
i. Charleston Police told her mother, that it would be best for Angelina to not come back to Charleston.

Among abolitionists
1. Remarkable impact
2. Highly acclaimed
a. Well circulated in abolitionist circles
b. Only abolitionist pamphlet that was written by a southern women for other southern women
3. Vaulted Grimke to high ranks among abolitionists
a. Invited to be a lecturer in NY for the AASS


Angelina & Sarah Grimke as Abolitionist Agents

They trained as part of "The 70" Angelina married Weld. The Grimke sisters were the first female agents.


Grimke sisters' speeches

New York
i. Beginning in 1836
ii. Worked as a team giving speeches to the same audience
iii. Parlor talks to small groups of women
iv. Began to attract men to listen to them
1. Spoke in Baptist church to couple hundred people

New England
1. Grueling schedule
a. Travel from town to town however they could
b. Speak 5-6 days a week sometimes more than once in a day
c. Both became ill in the fall of 1837, by end of October, they took time off for the winter, returned in February of 1838

2. Angelina gave a speech before a state legislature. No one had ever done that before
ii. Importance for abolitionism
1. Attracted large and growing crowds
a. 200-400 in the beginning, often gave speeches to 1000 people or more, while 100s outside trying to hear
b. No mics to amplify their voice
iii. Importance for women’s rights
1. Served as a spark for women’s rights
2. More and more men came to listen
3. Women were not supposed to speak on a public stage nor speak to both men and women
a. Pastoral letter was issued by the Massachusetts Congregational organization saying it was “sinful and unnatural” to take on men’s role as reformers and speakers
i. Lecturing in public damaged the female spirit
b. This developed a formation of plans for women’s rights


What happened after the last Grimke speech?

The venue was burned down the next day


What were some of the opinions of abolitionists about the Grimke sisters?

It was so controversial, that members thought that there could be possibility they took away from the message of abolitionists because of the drawing attention that they were women


Death of Elijah Lovejoy (Nov 7, 1837)

Took place in Alton, Illinois
Elijah set up his presses there, as he was a newspaper editor
His presses were constantly being destroyed
Until one day he defended them
1. Attacked by a mob when they holed up in a warehouse
2. Shooting occurred from both sides
a. Lovejoy was shot and killed
iv. Lovejoy’s death provided a great opportunity for abolitionists
1. Abolitionist made him a martyr
2. Didn’t praise him as solely an abolitionist, but a martyr to free speech and free expression


Background of Wendell Phillips

Born and raised in Boston, in an elitist family, first speech was "the murder of lovejoy"


Wendell Phillips as an orator and thoughts on public opinion

i. Began as a young boy, giving speeches in his home’s parlor to group of 5-7 family members

ii. Superb education from Harvard Law
1. Always was able to make a case
2. Never had “empty rhetoric”
a. Had facts and reasoning
b. Delivery pulled people

iii. Made a living of giving lectures… considered king of the lecture circuit
1. Made 20,000 a year giving speeches
2. Real commitment was reform

iv. Profound belief in the power of public opinion
1. Believed a country ruled by law, the way to change was to sway public opinion
2. Knew this wasn’t easy

v. Find the quotes for Wendell Philips
1. A minority has no right to rebel, the majority says so
a. It’s the minority’s job to convince


Historical Context of "The Murder of Lovejoy" (Why did this speech happen, who did Phillips respond to?)

Meeting at Faneuil Hall, called by abolitionists to protest the murder of Lovejoy, and to pass resolutions to condemn what had happened. They didn't think there would be conflict

Massachussets Attorney General James Austin defended the death of Lovejoy.
1. Supporting the Anti-slavery advocated, and that Lovejoy acted prudently by using the press to pass out abolitionist writing
a. Attorney General is the chief law enforcement official and was a shock to abolitionists
2. Austin’s arguments
a. Unfortunate that he died, but Lovejoy was a member of the press, had a right to free press, but he went to far because he acted slavery, and he irritated the slave owners of Missouri, and nearby slave states
i. Blaming the victim
ii. Not uncommon, multiple occasions in history of victim blaming
b. Lovejoy abused the right of free press and free expression
i. Deserved what he got
1. Any abolitionist who spoke out against slavery, their death would be dismissed as appropriate


Purpose of "The Murder of Lovejoy"

Refute Austin's view of Lovejoy & events in Alton. Protect abolitionists' rights of free speech and press


Major Arguments of "The Murder of Lovejoy"

1. Denies Austin’s comparison of the mob that attacked Lovejoy with the American Revolutionists
a. The emotional impact of the Revolution, that if he let this go, it would weaken all his arguments
b. Revolutionists used to insult the death of Lovejoy is a insult to revolutionist
c. Revolutionist were defending the principles of the constitution
i. The Alton rioters were contending for their own values
d. “When I heard the gentleman lay down principles which place the murderers of Alton side by side with Otis and Hancock, with Quincy and Adams, I thought those lips of the paintings on the wall would scream of defamation…”

2. Denies Lovejoy’s group was a mob
a. Mob has a negative connotation
b. Austin’s use of “mob” tainted Lovejoy’s group and the defense of his property
i. Lovejoy and his supporters represented the laws of the constitution and his property
ii. Lovejoy took refuge under the shield of the Constitution. ‘When through that he was pierced and fell…”

3. Denies Lovejoy fired first
a. Phillips says it doesn’t matter
b. He had a right to defend himself against lawless violence

4. Denies Lovejoy was imprudent
a. Exercising his right to free speech, how can you be imprudent?
i. Defense of free speech & press in general
1. Rejoices that Lovejoy defended his press
2. Makes him a martyr to free speech and press, not abolitionism


Impact of "The Murder of Lovejoy"

Short-term impact
i. Passage of abolitionist resolutions
1. Austin did not carry the day
ii. Emergence of Phillips as abolitionist orator

Long-term impact
i. Helped forge a link between abolitionism & free speech
1. Defend Lovejoy on a larger premise, something many white men could get behind
2. An attack on free speech is an attack on a every (white) man in America
3. Orators reached further audiences
ii. Helped remove barriers to abolitionist writers & speakers in the North
1. You didn’t have to be an abolitionist to oppose the suppression of abolitionists’ speeches
2. They could speak more freely, didn’t face the same opposition