The Four R's of the Abolition Movement: Rationale, Risks, Rewards... and Revolution

Introduction - Abolitionists


     Abolitionists were people who were opposed to slavery, wanting it to end in the United States.  Much of the abolition movement had its roots in Christian religious beliefs.  The earliest abolitionist group in North America, the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, was formed in 1775.  In 1789, Benjamin Franklin became its president.

     Thanks to the influence of leaders in the north, colonies there began to eliminate slavery soon after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  However, slavery increased in the south due to the expansion of lands on which to grow cotton as well as technological advancements like the cotton gin that dramatically increased the amount of cotton that could be sold.

     Many leaders rose up in opposition to slavery.  You will be researching four of these leaders, so you can understand the rationale for their beliefs, the risks they took in holding unpopular views, the rewards they ultimately achieved, as well as the revolution they were able to create in the minds of some people who didn't agree with them at first.

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