Flashcards in Lecture 9/24 and 9/26 Deck (20)
Theodore Weld's background
Lack of notoriety
i. He was a person who sought the limelight, unlike William Lloyd Garrison
1. Avoided big cities
2. Like the country side
ii. Unknown to many historians
1. Like a shadow figure, knew he existed but didn’t know much about him
2. All his writings were posted anonymously
3. Never accepted office in the AASS
How was Weld's papers discovered
Some person found a cache of letters of his family in Massachusetts, that painted a picture of him. Showed that Weld was just as big as Garrison was in the abolitionist movement.
Weld's religious and oratorical background
i. Both parents were very religious, so Weld was introduced early
ii. Oratory came naturally
1. At 17, he became a lecturer on the study of the memory and traveled to give lectures
a. Highly successful
2. At 22, he went with a group of lectures to give lectures on religious crusades
3. His ability to speak were phenomenal, people spoke very highly of him, during the age of oratory. Combination of sincerity and moral conviction. Had the ability to reach the common man.
The Lane Debates (1833)
18 nights of discussion on slavery and immediate abolitionism with 60 students and Weld.
1. Discussions on the ACS, and Weld debated all other students and held for advocating for the abolition of slavery. It was intense.
2. Almost all students converted to immediate abolitionism when Weld debated all of them
3. Weld and his followers he converted started working with the Free Blacks of Cincinnati
a. Worked on various things to help them
b. Wasn’t received well by the citizens of Cincinnati
c. Trustees told students to stop
i. Students left the seminary, recognizing that it was corrupt and wasn’t for the abolition of slavery
ii. Many students went to overland college in Cincinnati
iii. Weld withdrew all together
Lane's rebels stayed with the abolition movement for years after, working for abolitionism in the 40's and 50's
What was the AASS?
Lecturers went to small towns and gave speeches to try and convert and create branches of the AASS. Lecturers made 300-600 dollars
AASS importance to the growth of abolitionism
1. Needed a way to speak to people personally, face to face to tell them the dangers of slavery and colonization
2. Once they couldn’t speak it anymore, then they would print and publish it, which is how we know about them now
3. AASS began to put agency in 1834
a. By end of 1835, they had 300
b. By end of 1836, they had 537
c. By end of 1837, they had over 1300 stationary AASS quarters with over 200,000 members
Weld as an Agent of the AASS and his rhetorical method
From '34 to '36
Rhetorical method: Moral suasion. Drop the arguments for economic and other reasons. Use revivalist techniques. Try to find a place to speak and get people to listen
Opposition to the AASS
1. Would meet abolitionist where-ever they went, they would mob and try to throw out the lecturer from town, stop people from going, or interrupt their lectures
2. Abolitionists were beaten, dragged, etc. but no one died
Weld and "The 70"
Weld trained more lecturers at the AASS headquaters in NY. Taught them the ideals of abolitionism. 6-8 Hours per day for 3 weeks. Welds voice and strength was depleted by the end of training.
Impact of "The 70"
Highly effective, solidified original places the lecturers went and spread to new towns.
End of Weld's career as an orator
1. Lost his strength and voice
2. Health was in jeopardy if he continued
3. Went into the publications branch of the AASS
What does Weld's "The Bible Against Slavery" argue the importance of and what is it based on?
Based on Weld’s lectures as AASS agent
i. Emphasis on moral suasion again
ii. Not published with his name on it
iii. Put lectures in written form
Importance of the “Bible question”
i. Both sides argued whether the bible supported or opposed slavery (biblical servitude vs slavery)
ii. South thought because it existed in the bible, that what American slavery was just an extension
Argument of "The Bible Against Slavery"
i. Grants that servitude existed in Biblical times
ii. But Biblical servitude is not the same as American slaver, which
1. Reduces people to property
a. Not someone who just worked for you, people were exchanged as a commodity
b. Is this sanctioned by the Bible, Weld asks. The answer according to him is no.
2. Eliminates all their rights as human beings
Method of "The Bible Against Slavery"
Close analysis of Biblical text and ancient historical context
Weld looked closely to understand the meaning of words in scripture, not just in English, but in Hebrew as well
Impact of "The Bible Against Slavery"
i. Roughly 100 pages of analysis and made an argument with it.
1. Argument directed to people who would come and listen to him when he lectured
2. Most servants had rights, were paid, and children were not bound to servitude
a. Were not slaves, couldn’t be abused
ii. The argument had been so successful in the field, he had it written up, it became like a abolitionist handbook
Weld's purpose for "American Slavery As It Is"
Expose true condition of Southern Slaves
1. Slave owners apologized for slavery
a. Said they treated them well
b. Kind of logic… own a piece of property, it is not in self interest to mistreat property, so surely the slave owners must have been kind
i. Myth of “Happy slave life”
c. Nobody new the facts in the north. Southerners did, but they covered it up
Refute "positive good" defense of slavery
1. Way most people in the north thought slavery was a “necessary evil”
a. In an ideal scene, society shouldn’t have it, wrong in the abstract
i. But it has existed and helps the economy and blah blah, bunch of other bullshit excuses.
b. Evil implies there is wrong doing, and probably shouldn’t exist
2. Once abolitionist started to gain ground, southern took a more defensive approach
a. John C. Calhoun, referred to slavery as a blessing, for Europeans (whites), because of the economic benefits, and to the Africans as well… argument was blacks were exposed to benefits of Christianity, avoiding paganism in Africa and cradle to grave (have work and housing). That life is better in Slavery than in Africa…
b. Who would want to destroy something that does a positive to both races…
Genre of "American Slavery As It Is"
Expose, to expose the true light of slavery
Rhetorical method of "American Slavery As It Is"
Looked at all aspects of slavery, look at documentation of slavery (newspaper clippings, witness testimonies, quality and quantity)
Evidence for "American Slavery As It Is"
Personal Testimony (Testimony of 1,000 Witnesses and from northerners traveling in the south), Southern Newspaper clippings (articles and ads that showed daily life/abuse of slaves), if there wasn't enough evidence, no one would believe or be persuaded