Friday, June 5, 2009
June 5, 1851: Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly began serialization in The National Era
Posted by Bob Sommer
"Well," said Eliza, mournfully, "I always thought that I must obey my master and mistress, or I couldn't be a Christian."
"So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War!" President Abraham Lincoln said, when he met Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862, according to an apocryphal story.
The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 inspired Stowe to write Uncle Tom's Cabin, which sold over 300,000 copies within a year after it appeared in book form in 1852. It was later translated into 60 languages.
Stowe's characterizations of American slaves arguably gave way to the stereotypes that became tragically ubiquitous in movies like Gone with the Wind, and persisted well beyond it.
Yet the novel did succeed in raising the awareness of a wide audience about the horrors of slavery and thus helped to strengthen the Abolitionist movement.
Learn more at The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center