The Nineteenth Century in Print: Books

Sampler of Collection Themes:
Introduction | The Civil War | Slavery and Abolition | Religion | Education
Self-Help and Self-Improvement | Travel and Westward Expansion | Poetry

Slavery and Abolition

Illustration from Keefer book

The roots of the Civil War lay in the debate over the nature and legitimacy of American slavery. Until the war ended it, slavery defined the lives not only of most African Americans but of all Southerners, slaves, slaveholders, and free non-slaveholders alike. The Nineteenth Century in Print is especially rich in works that present the range of arguments joined in this debate, from the eloquent first-person testimony of former slaves, to authoritative judicial opinions, to the increasingly impassioned contention between the advocates of slavery’s abolition and those who sought to defend it on moral, religious, and political grounds. The depth and tenacity of white Southerners' commitment to slavery in the face of Northerners' mounting moral and political opposition led finally to secession and war. Here is a sampling of these titles:

Isaac Allen, Is Slavery Sanctioned by the Bible? A Premium Tract ([1860]).

Albert Barnes, The Church and Slavery (1857).

Boston Slave Riot, and Trial of Anthony Burns. Containing the Report of the Faneuil Hall Meeting; the Murder of Batchelder; Theodore Parker's Lesson for the Day; Speeches of Counsel on Both Sides, Corrected by Themselves; a Verbatim Report of Judge Loring's Decision; and Detailed Account of the Embarkation (1854).

W. G. Brownlow and A. Pryne, Ought American Slavery to Be Perpetuated?, A Debate between Rev. W. G. Brownlow and Rev. A. Pryne. Held at Philadelphia, September, 1858 ([1858]).

George B. Cheever, The Fire and Hammer of God's Word against the Sin of Slavery. Speech of George B. Cheever, D.D., at the Anniversary of the American Abolition Society, May, 1858 (1858).

Rufus W. Clark, The African Slave Trade ([c1860]).

Levi Coffin, Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, the Reputed President of the Underground Railroad; Being a Brief History of the Labors of a Lifetime in Behalf of the Slave, with the Stories of Numerous Fugitives, Who Gained Their Freedom through His Instrumentality, and Many Other Incidents ([1876]).

The Constitution Expounded, Respecting Its Bearing on the Subject of Slavery (1850).

Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (1857).

Charles Elliott, Sinfulness of American Slavery: Proved from Its Evil Sources; Its Injustice; Its Wrongs; Its Contrariety to Many Scriptural Commands, Prohibitions, and Principles, and to the Christian Spirit; and from Its Evil Effects; Together with Observations on Emancipation, and the Duties of American Citizens in Regard to Slavery Volume 1 and Volume 2 (1850).

William Goodell, The American Slave Code in Theory and Practice: Its Distinctive Features Shown by Its Statutes, Judicial Decisions, and Illustrative Facts (1853).

T. W. Hoit, The Right of American Slavery (1860).

John Henry Hopkins, A Scriptural, Ecclesiastical, and Historical View of Slavery, from the Days of the Patriarch Abraham, to the Nineteenth Century ([1864]).

John Hutchins, Freedom v. Slavery. Speech of John Hutchins, of Ohio. Delivered in the U. S. House of Representatives, May 2, 1860 ([1860]).

Harriet A. Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Written by Herself (1861).

Henry Field James, Abolitionism Unveiled; or, Its Origin, Progress, & Pernicious Tendency Fully Developed (1856).

Justus Keefer, Slavery: Its Sin, Moral Effects, and Certain Death ([1864]).

J. W. Loguen, The Rev. J. W. Loguen, As a Slave and As a Freeman. A Narrative of Real Life (1859).

John C. Lord, "The Higher Law" in Its Application to the Fugitive Slave Bill. A Sermon on the Duties Men Owe to God and to Governments. Delivered at the Central Presbyterian Church on Thanksgiving Day (1851).

Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave. Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853, from a Cotton Plantation Near the Red River, in Louisiana (1853).

Peter Randolph, Sketches of Slave Life; or, Illustrations of the 'Peculiar Institution'. By Peter Randolph, an Emancipated Slave (1855).

Frederick A. Ross, Slavery Ordained of God (1857).

William A. Smith, Lectures on the Philosophy and Practice of Slavery, As Exhibited in the Institution of Domestic Slavery in the United States: With the Duties of Masters to Slaves (1856).

James Stirling, Letters from the Slave States (1857).

Thomas J. Taylor, Essay on Slavery; As Connected with the Moral and Providential Government of God; And as an Element of Church Organization (1851).

United States Supreme Court, The Case of Dred Scott in the United States Supreme Court. The Full Opinions of Chief Justice Taney and Justice Curtis, and Abstracts of the Opinions of the Other Judges; with an Analysis of the Points Ruled, and Some Concluding Observations (1860).

George M. Weston, Southern Slavery Reduces Northern Wages. An Address by George M. Weston, of Maine, Delivered in Washington, D. C., March 25, 1856 ([1856]).

Introduction | The Civil War | Slavery and Abolition | Religion | Education
Self-Help and Self-Improvement | Travel and Westward Expansion | Poetry

The Nineteenth Century in Print: Books