Grimke interpreted the opposition she encountered as hostility towards a woman speaking out against slavery in public. The fact that someone of her background (coming from a prominent slave-holding family) should speak out against slavery caused a great uproar. According to the Pastoral letter that condemned the practice, Grimke was assuming the place and tone of a man in public. Women were not supposed to be outspoken, yet dependent and advance the cause of religion at home and abroad but not in such controversial manners.
Grimke’s outspoken words against slavery showed that women could also have key roles in the emancipation. Thus, not only men had to be radical abolitionists who wanted to end slavery but women could have a say in the practice as well.
Grimke did a good job at weaving the interruptions of the tumultuous mob into her speech concerning the evils of slavery. The first time that the mobsters interrupted her speech, she stated, “They know now what they do. They know now that they are undermining their own rights and their own happiness, temporal and eternal.” Next, when they started throwing stones at the windows, Grimke asks that if they broke in, “would this be any thing compared with what the slaves endure?” She states that the disturbances affirm that the friends of slavery care for what they say or do. Consequently, their efforts are the best that could have been adopted. Grimke does not allow the disturbances of the mob to interfere with her speech condemning slavery. She simply works the mob and their actions into her speech to justify her points.
Grimke explains her decision to speak out publicly against slavery by stating that “As a Southerner I feel it is my duty to stand up here tonight and bear testimony against slavery.” She feels as though she has the right to speak out against the institution because she has seen slavery and its horrors. She witnessed the demoralizing influence of slavery and the destruction it had on human happiness. She affirms, “I have never seen a happy slave.” Grimke speaking out against slavery was significant for two reasons: First, she was a woman and women weren’t supposed to speak out radically against anything and secondly, she grew up in the South and saw the destruction slavery had on the human race and the horrors that slavery entailed. Thus, she felt it was her right to speak out against it.
Grimke clearly defines a women’s role in emancipating the slaves. She urges women to petition to reach the legislature because it is their duty to do so. She says, “When the women of these states send up to Congress such a petition, our legislatures will arise as did those of England and say, “When all the maids and matrons or the land are knocking at our doors we must legislate””. Thus, Grimke believes that if the women petition to Congress, they will listen and do something about their grievances.
The title of the poem, “Our Countrymen in Chains” along with the direct mention of slaves leads me to believe Whittier thought his readers were slaves.
Based on the poem, it seems as though Whittier believes Americans should end slavery because slaves are held in inhumanly, and our bound by chains. Thus, they have no freedom in society. I think Whittier sees the slaves as being citizens or equal to the whites by calling them “our countrymen in chains.” He acknowledges that they are countrymen as well, just like everyone else but they do not have the same rights as those who are not slaves do.
The following are the basis’ for which Stewart claims that the condition of free blacks is virtually the same as slaves:
1.) They are bound by chains of ignorance, their soul is binded.
2.) They do not receive the advantages of early education this their ideas do not
expand – they possess nothing but moral capability.
3.) They deal with prejudice – girls can not rise above the condition of servants.
4.) Continual hard labor irritates their tempers and sours their dispositions.
5.) Few have the opportunity to become rich and independent and employments
they pursue are unprofitable.
6.) “Prejudice, ignorance, and poverty.”
1. How did she interpret the opposition she encountered?
She talks about how they need to uncover the bodies that lie there. She wants to “take away the stone which has covered up the dead body of our brother, to expose the putrid carcass, to show how that body has been bound with the grave-clothes of heathen ignorance, and his face with the napkin of prejudice, and having done all it was our duty to do, to stand by the negro's grave, in humble faith and holy hope.” [A reference to the New Testament story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead] She says that they have to expose what happened to the blacks in order to fully understand what happened.
2. Grimké, in effect, found herself giving two speeches. One was on the evils of slavery, the other on the mob threatening to break up the meeting. How did she weave the tumult occasioned by the mob into her message about slavery?
She said that “I feel that all this disturbance is but an evidence that our efforts are the best that could have been adopted, or else the friends of slavery would not care for what we say and do. The South know what we do. I am thankful that they are reached by our efforts.” She knows that her words have reached the others who are against what she has to say and she sees this mob as the south’s way as recognizing what she has said.
3. How did Grimké explain her decision to speak out publically against slavery?
She talks about what she has seen in slavery. She is from the south so she has seen the horrible side of slavery. She talks about how when people visit the south, they are taken care of very well but they never step into the slave’s shacks and that they witness the cruelty of slavery but they are just “silent witnesses”. She also states that you never see a slave happy.
4. How did she define "woman's" role in the struggle for emancipation?
She said that the only thing women can do is to petition in America because the men are the ones who fill the ballots and are able to settle matters. She said it is their duty to petition because this is the only way they can reach the legislation.
5. If Grimké emphasized the role of women in ending slavery, Whittier did not. What about his poem suggests who he thought his readers were?
He talks about the freedom that everyone has in America and the Revolutionary War that got them their freedom. He also mentions other countries and their pasts.
6. Grimké grounded her arguments against slavery in religion and the Bible. Whittier also made a religious appeal, in the latter stanzas of his poem, but most of his references were to American history and to contemporary political events in Europe. What were his central contentions about why Americans should end slavery? What was his reason, do you think, for referring to slaves as "our countrymen in chains!"?
He thought Americans should end slavery because it would show their power that they have in the country and how they can help make things right and how perhaps, certain things could be avoided if the people did it for their country instead of the government. I think he referred to slaves as “our countrymen in chains” because they also helped fight the war and played a large part in American history. They are Americans, too.
7. Stewart based her arguments on religion and history. On what basis did she claim that the condition of free blacks was virtually as bad as that of slaves?
She found that black men had the same views on women speaking in public as white men so she did not see the difference in having a freed black slave as opposed to a enslaved one because they were just the same as the white man.
8. How does the pro-slavery image contest Grimké's, Whittier's and Stewart's claims?
The pro-slavery image says that slavery is a good thing for the black people because it gives them a place in America. Those three claim that slavery is bad and should be abolished and that no one ever gets to see the real side of slavery. Grimke, having come from the south, got to see slavery first hand and knows the cruelty that happened to the slaves and their poor living conditions and how no one ever paid any attention to them.
9. What specific features of this drawing relate to the imagery of the poem?
Specific features of the drawing that relate to the imagery of the poem are the fact that he has his hands in chains and the way he has them folded together and is raising towards the heavens. You can see the scars on his back to symbolize his whippings and the horrible treatment that the slaves had to go through.
1) Angelina Grimke encountered significant opposition for two main reasons in Philadelphia:
a) She spoke out against slavery and called for immediate emancipation – slavery had been a sour topic to discuss in the 19th century and as an abolitionist, she was regarded as an agitator or troublemaker.
b) The public sphere had traditionally been reserved for men, and as a woman, she provoked controversy by speaking out and working outside of the accepted roles of women
She knew that her work through abolition was not popular and had been criticized as dividing the country even more so that it would eventually resolve this issue over a bloody conflict. However, she genuinely felt that, as a devout Christian, that slavery was an institution of evil and needed to be destroyed for the goodness of humanity.
2) Grimke had lived in South Carolina for most of her life and witnessed the horrors and evils of slavery. Therefore, she published her accounts of slavery trying to educate people around the country about the evils of slavery and why it should have been abolished immediately. She also drew from the story of Lazarus in the Bible to justify the work of the abolitionists. She stated “our business is to take away the stone which has covered up the dead body of our brother, to expose the putrid carcass, to show how that body has been bound with the grave-clothes of heathen ignorance, and his face with the napkin of prejudice, and having done all it was our duty to do, to stand by the negro’s grave, in humble faith and holy hope, waiting to hear the life-giving command of “Lazarus, come forth”” (Appeal To The Christian Women of the South).
3) Grimke ingeniously incorporated the chaos and destruction of the Philadelphia mob into her first speech. She explained that the North’s biggest fear, if slavery was successfully abolished, was the idea of amalgamation or the mixing of white and black races. She stated the North overall was anti-slavery but could not bear the idea of equality between whites and blacks. Equality would have meant that blacks would have the opportunity to become educated, moral, religious, respectable, and wealthy as their white counterparts. That was precisely the reason why mobs tried to silence abolitionists – to prevent racial equality from becoming reality. Racism had been deeply entrenched in the minds of the people of the North as well of those of the South.
4) Grimke felt that it was her to duty to bear the testimony against slavery and deliver the oppressed as she had witnessed the evils of slavery all her life in South Carolina and “could no longer endure to hear the wailing of the slave.” She realized that evil would prevail if good remained silent. She also said that there was no such thing as neutral ground on the issue of slavery. One was either for it or against it. The time to act was now and both women and men in the North had the responsibility to fight against slavery.
5) In her Speech at Pennsylvania Hall, Grimke talked about how men had the right to settle the question of slavery and other issues by voting. Women, who did not possess that right, could still participate in the abolition of slavery by submitting petitions to Legislature. Therefore, it was the women’s duty to petition. She reminded the people she spoke to that the women in England had played a major role in the abolition of slavery in her colonies. If they had succeeded, so could the women of America.
6) His poem might have been addressed to Christian men – perhaps both black and white. In his poem “Our Countrymen in Chains,” he mentions Lucifer, “God’s own image bought and sold,” and slaves pleading for their right of freedom. The title of the poem appeared to have called upon all citizens of the “free” United States to end slavery to help their fellow countrymen in this time of crisis.
7) Whittier’s central contentions to why Americans should end slavery were because slavery was immoral in the eyes of the Christian faith; that slavery would lead to a bloody American conflict; and that the goals of the American Revolution would not be met unless slavery was abolished. The American Revolution had been fought so that the Americans could govern themselves, abolish monarchy, and establish a government that would protect and maintain the interests and rights of the people it served. However, if slavery existed, then the blacks would not be represented by this government. Slavery also went against the idea stated in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.” Ironically, the Americans fought for their rights and liberties, but refused to extend them to the enslaved blacks who had come to America against their own will. Whittier also mentioned contemporary European events because Europe abolished slavery and was working together to prevent another war from erupting. As to referring to slaves as “our countrymen in chains,” Whittier echoed the cries of the American Revolution in that the Americans were called to unite and fight against the tyrannical king of England. Now, Whittier was calling on his fellow Americans to rid the nation of the evil institution of slavery, to maintain the Union, and allow peace to take over in this time of crisis.
8) Stewart spoke out not only against slavery but against the prejudice free blacks encountered. “It is true, that the free people of color throughout these United States are neither bought nor sold, nor under the lash of the cruel driver…but few, if any, have an opportunity to becoming rich and independent.” In other words, blacks, free or enslaved, would rarely rise from their current social position because of racism and prejudice. Equality between races was not accepted and would not be achieved until the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Whites residing in the North and South were afraid of “mongrelization” and competition for jobs with blacks. They were not accepted in white society. Slavery helped maintain the low position of Africans living in the United States.
9) The pro-slavery argument was defended and supported by John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. Calhoun did not see the institution of slavery as evil but as a “positive good.” Slavery was the main component of the Southern economy and needed to be preserved. He stated that “abolition and the Union cannot coexist…We of the South will not, cannot, surrender our institutions.” In fact, he contended that abolitionists would lead the United States to war and were outside agitators. In the Pictorial Illustration of Abolitionism, the abolitionists were portrayed as Satan who said in the cartoon “Slavery is a national sin.” In the caption located at the bottom of the illustration, it said that slavery was never an issue the M.E. Church ever got involved with and “never had been a test of membership from the Apostolic day until this time.” This image presented a totally opposite message from that of the abolitionists discussed above.
10) “What! God’s own image bought and sold!”
“Plead vainly for their plundered Right!”
“And groan for freedom’s gift, in vain!”
“The damning shade of Slavery’s curse!”
“Our Countrymen in Chains!”
All of these quotes from Whittier’s poem are illustrated in the image provided by the American Anti-Slavery Society. The image is of a slave wearing shackles, poorly clothed, and one his knees pleading for liberty and his full rights as a human being. Immediately below his right foot is a message that reads: “Am I Not A Man And A Brother?”
1. Angelina Grimké felt that her opposition simply doubted that the colored race could make anything of themselves. She compared the situation to the Biblical story of Jesus’ friend Lazarus. Lazarus’ sister, Martha, felt it was useless to move the stone that blocked the entrance to Lazarus’ tomb because by the time Jesus had arrived, Lazarus had been dead for four days. Martha doubted that such a miracle, such as raising someone from the dead after four days, could take place. Nonetheless, Jesus said "Lazarus, come forth" and raised him from the dead. Grimké feels that her opponents act just as Martha did and ask, how can they, the colored race, ever be raised politically and intellectually, they have been dead four hundred years? Grimké sees the issue as a matter of holy hope and faith. In her eyes, by pulling back the stone of slavery and exposing the once captive colored race, it is then that the Christ can give his life-giving command.
2. Not only did Angelina Grimké become a strong voice for the abolitionist movement, she also brought about the women’s rights movement, which emerged in the 1840’s and 1850’s. However, the latter seemed even more difficult. Abolitionists already had to defend themselves against charges of fanaticism. Defending the right of women to speak in public would only add to the difficulty. Among Grimké’s opposition was her own husband, a fellow abolitionist, Theodore Dwight Weld. Weld and Grimké chose to restrain their principles about women's rights to advance the cause of abolition. William Lloyd Garrison chose the course of principle. As a result, the abolition movement split. Over the next two decades, women like Lucretia Mott, Abby Kelley Foster, and Lucy Stone carried on in Angelina Grimké's absence so that women anti-slavery lecturers became a fixture of northern public life. Countless other women raised funds, circulated petitions, and in other ways supported the cause of abolition. John C. Calhoun labeled Grimké as a danger to slavery because she sought successfully to convince white Northerners that slavery was an issue of morality, a sin, and that white Americans, North and South, were all guilty.
3. Grimké used the disturbance that was being caused by the mob, as evidence that the spirit of slavery was present in the North as well. The opposition showed that slavery had done its deadliest work in the hearts of the citizens. Believing that slavery was a moral issue, Grimké stated, “Deluded beings! "they know not what they do." They know not that they are undermining their own rights and their own happiness, temporal and eternal.” More Importantly, she used the mob to stress the fact that the North needed to change. They had to first cast out the spirit of slavery from their own hearts, and then lend their aid to convert the South. The mob presented an opportunity to do something. Every man and woman present could do something. They could show that they did not fear a mob, and, in the midst of threats and verbal abuse, open their mouths for the dumb and plead the cause of those who were ready to perish.
4. Grimké felt that as a Southerner, it was her duty to stand up, speak out publicly, and bear testimony against slavery. She claims, “I have seen it -- I have seen it. I know it has horrors that can never be described. I was brought up under its wing: I witnessed for many years its demoralizing influences, and its destructiveness to human happiness.” Angelina Grimké exiled herself from her native land because she could no longer endure to hear the wailing of the slave. She fled to Pennsylvania. Here, she thought she would have found sympathy for the slave. What she found was that the people were kind and hospitable, but the slave had no place in their thoughts. So, animated with hope, with an assurance of the triumph of liberty and good will to man, Grimké exclaimed, “I will lift up my voice like a trumpet, and show this people their transgression, their sins of omission towards the slave, and what they can do towards affecting Southern mind, and overthrowing Southern oppression.
5. Since, at this time, women did not have the right to vote, they could not settle this and other questions at the ballot box like men did. It was only through petitions that they could reach the Legislature. Grimké felt that it was therefore peculiarly their duty to petition. She made a reference to England, where women did much to abolish Slavery in their colonies. Numerous petitions from them had recently been presented to the Queen, to abolish the apprenticeship with its cruelties nearly equal to those of the system whose place it supplied. One petition that was presented was two and a quarter miles long. Grimké felt that when the women of these states managed to send such a petition to Congress, their elected officials would arise as did those of England, and legislate accordingly.
6. I think that John Greenleaf Whittier thought his readers were white males. In "Our Countrymen In Chains," Whittier makes a lot of references to European countries and certain political events. Only white males would have been educated enough to be able to understand or speak about any type of foreign policy and the influence it could have on the United States. I do not believe that any women or blacks would even be allowed to engage in any kind of politics. Also, in his eleventh stanza, Whittier writes,
“Up, then, in Freedom’s manly part,
From grey-bearded eld to fiery youth,
And on the nation’s naked heart
Scatter the living coals of Truth.”
This is a good example of the fact that Whittier probably thought his readers were. Aside from the fact that he does not even mention any particular place for women in the crusade to end slavery, this stanza clearly demonstrates that Whittier sees it as a responsibility for men, both young and old.
7. I believe that Whittier’s central contentions, or points, about why Americans should end slavery had to do with Europe’s view of America as well as the fact that America could come under immense pressure to end slavery. In his ninth stanza Whittier writes,
“Will not the scorching answer come
From turbaned Turk, and fiery Russ
‘Go, loose your fettered slaves at home,
Then turn and ask the like of us!’
I think this stanza demonstrates Whittier’s concern for how America could be looked. It also could hint that he feels that America should end slavery for the sake of it’s own safety and security, as other nations may begin to look poorly on us and seek to force change. He refers to the salves as “our countrymen in chains” because he wants to make it clear that it is strictly we Americans that are in the wrong, and we are going to end this injustice. We are persecuting our own.
8. Stewart spoke out not only against slavery but also against the prejudice free blacks encountered. She says, "Tell us no more of southern slavery; for with few exceptions, although I may be very erroneous in my opinion, yet I consider our condition but little better than that." She argued most strenuously that African Americans had to speak out on their own and not allow whites, no matter how well-meaning, to speak for them. An example she gives was from a piece she observed in the Liberator, stating that the colonizationists had published a work respecting them, asserting that they were lazy and idle. It was also asserted that they were "a ragged set, crying for liberty." She disputes saying how there were so many industrious and ambitious blacks to be found, and that regardless of how they were portrayed, they felt a common desire to rise above the condition of servants and drudges.
9. The image removes any kind of political, religious, or moral consequence that abolitionists claimed was so closely associated with slavery. If anything, it portrays the anti-slavery campaign as a work of the devil. It is an attempt to deceive the white man from believing that he is superior to the big-lipped, stupefied slave in the image. Grimké's, Whittier's and Stewart's works were more elaborate and convincing. There is not much depth or logic to the point that the image is trying to make.
10. One of the biggest features of this drawing that relates to the imagery of the poem are the chains. Connected at the hands and feet, the chains are part of the title of Whittier’s poem. They symbolize the restraints we put on both our countrymen and on our own humanity through practicing slavery. Also, the question at the bottom, am I not a man and a brother. Wittier aimed to show how inhumane slavery actually was. Abolitionists look at these slaves as men just as they are. They are men deserving of the unalienable rights given to them by God.
- How did Angelina Grimke interpret the opposition she encountered?
- Angelina interpreted the opposition she encountered, namely the state’s Congregational ministers and Philadelphia rioters, as prejudice against amalgamation or the mixing of races. It was not that the Northerners believed that slavery was right, but simply that they did not want the Africans to obtain equality or the same social status afforded to whites. She also attributed the opposition to human nature. She thought that the human mind resists all efforts to correct erroneous beliefs and the people rioted because anti-slavery people were starting to reach them.
- What lessons for the anti-slavery cause did she draw?
- Angelina showed the anti-slavery cause that men were not the only people who could stand up against the actions of others. Women could voice their opinions as well. Also, she demonstrated that it was not just the Northerners who supposedly could not understand Southern culture that oppose slavery, but some Southerners do too.
- Grimke found herself giving two speeches. One was on the evils of slavery, the other on the mob threatening to break up the meeting. How did she weave the tumult occasioned by the mob into her message about slavery?
- She manages to integrate the occurrences outside the Hall into her speech by making a parallel between the repression of the slaves and the mob’s attempt to repress the liberties of the people at the meeting.
- How did Grimke explain her decision to speak out publicly against slavery?
- She states that everyone who has cast out slavery from their own hearts has a job to do in the anti-slavery movement and must help convert the South. This mentality applied to herself as well. Angelina also stated that she felt it was her duty as a Southern to speak out against slavery, partly because she knew and had seen first hand the horrors of slavery.
- How did she define “woman’s” role in the struggle for emancipation?
- Angelina encouraged women to speak out against slavery, “join anti-slavery societies, circulate petitions, to raise funds, to write anti-slavery poems and polemics, and contribute to the movement in other ways.” She especially emphasized petitioning because the women, unlike men, could not vote to voice their opinion. Again, she also said that everyone who did not believe in slavery should help convert those who do, namely the Southerners.
- If Grimke emphasized the role of women in ending slavery, Whittier did not. What about his poem suggest who he though his readers were?
- First of all, he addresses his audience as “our countrymen,” with no reference to women at all. Also, he emphasizes power symbols like Constantine and the founding fathers to make his point. Historically, this would have appealed more to men than women.
- Grimke grounded her arguments against slavery in religion and the Bible. Whittier also made a religious appeal, in the latter stanzas of his poem, but most of his references were to American history and to contemporary political events in Europe. What were his central contentions about why Americans should end slavery? What was his reason, do you think, for referring to slaves as “our countrymen in chains?”
- Whittier thought that American should end slavery because it was an issue of liberty. If the United States was to truly be free, then there could be no slavery. Whittier was most likely trying to draw Americans together to fight against a common evil, specifically slavery. He attempted to connect the need for solidarity against the British in the Revolutionary War to the need for unity against slavery.
- Stewart based her arguments on religion and history. On what basis did she claim that the condition of free blacks was virtually as bad as that of the slaves?
- Even free blacks are not afforded an equal amount of respect or opportunities as the white people. For example, young, ambitious black men can only obtain labor jobs simply because of their color. They are being treated differently based solely on the color of their skin, just as the slaves are.
- How does the proslavery image contest Grimke’s, Whittier’s, and Stewart’s claims?
- The image pokes fun at Whittier’s ideas by the demon referring to slavery as a “national sin.” Whittier had hoped to draw the American people together against the common evil of slavery. This image implies that only a demon would try to convince people that slavery was a sin to be dealt with by the nation. The proslavery illustration challenges Grimke’s and Stewart’s claims by a similar token, mocking their religious argument that slavery is indeed a sin.
- What specific features of this drawing relate to the imagery of the poem?
- The caption, “Am I not a man and a brother?” contributes to the equality message present throughout the poem. It also shows that Africans are people just like everybody else and should be afforded the same freedoms. The lines, “our countrymen in chains,” and “their agony of prayer” also directly relate to the image, as the man in the illustration is indeed in chains and appears to be in a praying position.
When people tried to tell Angelina Grimke that slaves were "happy" she totally disagreed. She said that growing up in the south in the plantation setting she saw when slaves "danced". She said how they were not truly happy. They were dancing but still had shackels on their feet. She influenced many women to think the same way as her. She wanted them to sign petitions because they were not even able to vote at the time, because they were women.
There is nothing to be feared from those who would stop our mouths, but they themselves should fear and tremble. The current is even now setting fast against them. If the arm of the North had not caused the Bastile of slavery to totter to its foundation, you would not hear those cries. A few years ago, and the South felt secure, and with a contemptuous sneer asked, "Who are the abolitionists? The abolitionists are nothing?" -- Aye, in one sense they were nothing, and they are nothing still. But in this we rejoice, that "God has chosen things that are not to bring to nought things that are." [Mob again disturbed the meeting.]
We often hear the question asked, "What shall we do?" Here is an opportunity for doing something now. Every man and every woman present may do soinething by showing that we fear not a mob, and, in the midst of threatenings and revilings, by opening our mouths for the dumb and pleading the cause of those who are ready to perish.
This passage shows that she is not afraid of the mob and she even makes comments in her speech that I feel she knew would upset them. She even says that God is on the abolitionists' side.
Grimke explained why she was such an avid supporter of the abolition because she did grow up in the south on a plantation and knows the evils of slavery. She saw all of the bad things that slaves go through and, like I said before, she knew that the slaves were never truly happy.
Grimke says that women should sign petitions because that is all that they can do. Women do not even have the right to vote at that time so the only impact that they can have is to sign petitions and write in the underground abolition newspapers.
Whittier was clearly focused on the religious reawakening stirred in many of the members of his audience. There are various references which call upon the evangelical movement in his poem “Our Countrymen in Chains.” For example, Whittier refers to slaves as “God’s own image bought and sold” and calls for the end of slavery with the help of “those mild arms of Truth and Love, made mighty through the living God.” Also present in the poem are patriotic undertones. Whittier uses these as a call to a country of Americans, regardless of whether they live in the North or South. He reminds his audience of the common bond they shared in separating themselves from England, especially with the quotes that introduce the poem and the comparison that “England had 800,000 Slaves, and she has made them free. America has 2,250,00! – and she holds them fast!”
Whittier’s words seem to place a heavy emphasis on the fact that he is writing for a general American audience. Specifically, the words stress the commonalities that the audience has together in spite of their division over the issue of slavery. Whittier’s references to England are intended to reinforce the similarities of his readers and encourage them to once again band together like they did in the Revolution, only this time freeing themselves from slavery rather than King George. The fact that Whittier refers to slaves as “countrymen” is intended to humanize the slaves, who at that time were seen as property rather than individuals.
Although Stewart was a free black woman, she still saw herself resigned to “a life of drudgery and want.” She spoke out not only about the unfair condition of the slaves, but about the many injustices she saw done to free blacks as well. Because the white people in society held all of the power, Stewart found little difference in the experiences of a free black and an enslaved black, since both were severely oppressed.
In sharp contrast to the images of slavery that Grimke, Whittier, and Stewart portray, pro-slavery activists painted a very different portrait. They spoke often of what they saw as the positive aspects of slavery, particularly that the slaves themselves benefited from the practice. Pro-slavery groups stated that slaves would be unable to care for themselves without the guidance of their masters, and insisted that masters protected the best interests of their ignorant slaves. They also heavily promoted the image of family within plantations, as though the slaves were an extension of their own families and were encouraged to marry and have children amongst themselves.
“The Philadelphia Riot is noteworthy for several reasons. One is that it dramatically demonstrates the level of hostility abolitionism provoked. Another is Grimké's central role in opening up the "public sphere" to women. It was her example that inspired Abby Kelley Foster and, later, Lucy Stone to become abolition speakers. She also helped inspire hundreds and then thousands of middle-class northern women to join anti-slavery societies, to circulate petitions, to raise funds, to write anti-slavery poems and polemics, and contribute to the movement in other ways. These women not only played key roles in the struggle for emancipation, they also provided much of the leadership for the new woman's rights movement in the 1840s and 1850s.”
“As a Southerner I feel that it is my duty to stand up here to-night and bear testimony against slavery. I have seen it -- I have seen it. I know it has horrors that can never be described. I was brought up under its wing: I witnessed for many years its demoralizing influences, and its destructiveness to human happiness. It is admitted by some that the slave is not happy under the worst forms of slavery. But I have never seen a happy slave.”
“Such optimism proved unjustified. It would be 1865, and only after disunion and civil war, that slavery would be annihilated. Even so, the abolitionists would triumph. And Angelina Grimké and then countless other women would play a decisive part in changing northern opinion. So too would John Greenleaf Whittier. Maria Stewart, as eloquent a voice, would not gain that sort of public hearing. That role would fall to Frederick Douglass and, to a lesser extent, to Sojourner Truth. Despite Stewart's inability to make herself heard, the abolitionists would prevail. Here is an embittered pro-slavery view of their work.”
"That a woman of any background should speak out in public on any subject was just as controversial. The public sphere, so-called, was for men. Making Grimké's appearances even more sensational was the fact that she spoke before "promiscuous" audiences, i.e., before both men and women"
This was one of the first passages that I found to be intresting because I couldnt believe that it was such a big deal for a woman to speak out about something in public. I could not believe that the audience was even called "promiscous" compared to todays world this seems rediciulous. I forgot how different it was for woman to speak their mind years ago.
What lessons for the anti-slavery cause did she draw?
She states that everyone should follow the Christian readings and treat each other as equals.
Grimké, in effect, found herself giving two speeches. One was on the evils of slavery, the other on the mob threatening to break up the meeting. How did she weave the tumult occasioned by the mob into her message about slavery?
She talks about how the people there do not fear the mob so they should not fear speaking out against slavery. She states that “there is nothing to be feared from those who would stop our mouths, but they themselves should fear and tremble. The current is even now setting fast against them.” She wants her followers to know that they have nothing to fear but instead it is those who oppose them that should be fearful of a rebellion and the lost of slavery.
How did Grimké explain her decision to speak out publically against slavery?
She has seen the harsh ways that the slaves have been treated and wants to set them free. She knows that she is a native Carolinian yet she moved to Pennsylvania because she could not deal with the way slaves were treated. Grimke goes on to state how God punished Judea for slavery and that it should not be different now. Those who have slaves should be punished also.
How did she define "woman's" role in the struggle for emancipation?
She states that they should stand up to the men who abuse their sex and kind. God would want them to act fairly and apply justice to the world. She states the fact that in England, women are the ones who got rid of slavery by getting petitions, standing up for what they believe in and never giving up. The women of the US should follow that example.
If Grimké emphasized the role of women in ending slavery, Whittier did not. What about his poem suggests who he thought his readers were?
At the end of his poem he states that they should rise up for freedom which leads the reader to believe that the poem was directed towards slaves and anti-slavery people.
Grimké grounded her arguments against slavery in religion and the Bible. Whittier also made a religious appeal, in the latter stanzas of his poem, but most of his references were to American history and to contemporary political events in Europe. What were his central contentions about why Americans should end slavery? What was his reason, do you think, for referring to slaves as "our countrymen in chains!"?
He states that every other country has already gotten rid of slavery and that America should do the same. He refers to slaves as “our countrymen in chains” because it makes it seem like the whites should help out their brothers and free them from the chains that they are in.
Stewart based her arguments on religion and history. On what basis did she claim that the condition of free blacks was virtually as bad as that of slaves?
She states that free blacks will be in the same condition as slaves because they will not be able to find jobs and they are not going to rise up on the social ladder. They will always be thought of as lesser people and that they should just remain slaves where at least they will have shelter and food.
Grimké, in effect, found herself giving two speeches. One was on the evils of slavery, the other on the mob threatening to break up the meeting. How did she weave the tumult occasioned by the mob into her message about slavery?
She takes the yelling and screaming of the mob outside threatening to break up the meeting as an example of the evil of slavery, and that the spirit of slavery was there and alive. Although this was in the North, and they felt they had nothing to do with the slavery, Grimke used this as an opportunity to prove to them that the spirit of slavery is everywhere until someone helps and does something about it.
"Those voices without ought to awaken and call out our warmest sympathies. Deluded beings! "they know not what they do." They know not that they are undermining their own rights and their own happiness, temporal and eternal. Do you ask, "what has the North to do with slavery?" Hear it -- hear it. Those voices without tell us that the spirit of slavery is here, and has been roused to wrath by our abolition speeches and conventions: for surely liberty would not foam and tear herself with rage, because her friends are multiplied daily, and meetings are held in quick succession to set forth her virtues and extend her peaceful kingdom. This opposition shows that slavery has done its deadliest work in the hearts of our citizens."
How did Grimké explain her decision to speak out publically against slavery?
Grimke was a Southerner, so she experienced the terror and harshness of slavery first hand. She explains how she has never seen a happy slave, and how "there is a wide difference between happiness and mirth". She says that a man cannot enjoy his manhood when his manhood is taken away and controlled by another person, and the happiness he should feel is completly blotted out.
How did she define "woman's" role in the struggle for emancipation?
She explains that women must petition, because the men could settle this in the ballot box, but women have no right to vote, and it is only through petition that they can reach the Legislature. Grimke explains how the South has "already turned pale" at the number of petitions of women which have been sent in. She influences the women to realize that they need to step up and do something, not just simply sit back and expect things to be done for them. They need to realize that what they want to do "does no good" because it actually could do something good.
"Let the zeal and love, the faith and works of our English sisters quicken ours -- that while the slaves continue to suffer, and when they shout deliverance, we may feel the satisfaction of having done what we could."
Whittier definitly suggests that he thinks his readers were white males. He uses the words "men" and "father" a lot throughout his poem.
- If Grimké emphasized the role of women in ending slavery, Whittier did not. What about his poem suggests who he thought his readers were?
I think he is trying to explain that America has broken free of the rule of England to become a better, independent people and the Europeans have actually taken bigger leaps in freeing slaves
- Grimké grounded her arguments against slavery in religion and the Bible. Whittier also made a religious appeal, in the latter stanzas of his poem, but most of his references were to American history and to contemporary political events in Europe. What were his central contentions about why Americans should end slavery? What was his reason, do you think, for referring to slaves as "our countrymen in chains!"?
"England has 800,000 Slaves, and she has made them free. America has 2,250,000! and she holds them fast!!!!"
By referring to slaves as "our countrymen in chains", he means that these are actually people the Americans brought over to this country and we were treating them horribly.
- Stewart based her arguments on religion and history. On what basis did she claim that the condition of free blacks was virtually as bad as that of slaves?
Stewart was a free black woman, whose audiences were also black. Her speeches did not spur or inspire great interest or controversy like Grimke's had. "Tell us no more of southern slavery; for with few exceptions, although I may be very erroneous in my opinion, yet I consider our condition but little better than that." She argued most strenuously that African Americans had to speak out on their own and not allow whites, no matter how well-meaning, to speak for them.
- GRIMKE’S OPPOSITION - Grimke thought of her opposition as people who failed to see the good in African Americans. In her Appeal of the Christian Women of the South, she parallels the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead with her cause. She said her opponents viewed black culture as dead and stagnant, like Lazarus, but the abolitionists, like Jesus, were striving to revive the seemingly non-existent culture and give it a chance to succeed like the white people had in America.
- LESSONS OF ANTI-SLAVERY - She, like her husband, Theodore Weld, taught that Christianity was the driving force behind anti-slavery, and chose to put her pro-feminist views on the back burner while campaigning for abolitionism. The Jesus and Lazarus story mentioned above exemplifies how she used Christian morals in her preaching against slavery.
- PHILADELPHIA MOB AND SLAVERY - She ties the chaos of the mob in with her speech by saying that it is clear that slavery was present in the North in spirit, and the mob represented this spirit of slavery. She also says that, because a mob even formed, that the tide was turning against the pro-slavery side. (“There is nothing to be feared from those who would stop our mouths, but they themselves should fear and tremble. The current is even now setting fast against them.”).
- WHY SHE CHOSE TO GO PUBLIC - Grimke says in the beginning of her speech that she has chosen to go public because she feels that the Church itself and men are too politically inclined to speak out against slavery (“The great men of this country will not do this work; the church will never do it.”). She later uses the fact that she witnessed the atrocities of slavery first hand as a Carolinian (“Every Southern breeze wafted to me the discordant tones of weeping and wailing, shrieks and groans, mingled with prayers and blasphemous curses.”)
- WOMAN’S ROLE - She said that the woman’s role was to petition, petition, petition. She recognized that women could not vote, and men showed that, through their voting and reluctance to go public, that the supposedly more powerful sex was afraid to make a stand. She uses the evidence of powerful women’s petitions from England’s recent (1833) abolition of slavery to say that her American sisters should mirror their former mother country’s methods to achieve success.
- WHITTIER’S READERS - Whittier felt that his readers were men who were well-schooled in the history of religion, and who were up on current events throughout the world. He also thought they were men of great patriotism whose spirit of revolution could be aroused by his use of powerful language toward the end of the poem. This is evidenced by allusions to things going on all around Europe, like serfdom in Russia, and the struggle with Muslims and Christians in Greece.
- “COUNTRYMEN IN CHAINS” - First of all, his reason for calling slaves “our countrymen in chains” is clearly to show that slaves, contrary to what pro-slavery people thought, were actual people too, and calling them “countrymen” even suggested that they were equal to their white counterparts. He wants Americans to end slavery because he thinks it will show the world what Americans think of freedom; how unconditional the great country’s sentiment of freedom is. He also warns of God’s wrath if America chooses not to act in the name of freedom and mercy in his last few stanzas.
- FREE BLACKS - The condition of free blacks was almost as bad as that of slaves is because, as Stewart said, America was very racist. She gives the example of how she asked white women if they would hire or do business with black women. Their reply was that even if they had nothing against the black women, it was not accepted to associate with them, and they did not want to hurt themselves in a capitalistic society by doing so (“Their reply has been, for their own part, they had no objection; but as it was not the custom, were they to take them into their employ, they would be in danger of losing the public patronage.”). She also says throughout her speech that most white people in society thought that blacks, free or slave, were in America to do the jobs respectable whites did not want to do, like manual labor.
- PRO-SLAVERY IMAGE - Grimke, Stewart, and Whittier all fell back on the principle that slavery was a moral wrong in the eyes of God. The image shows that the devil was preaching to white men that slavery was wrong, and because the devil was an abolitionist, God must really be pro-slavery. The white man looks confused, so it looks as though the image is trying to sway people on the fence about the issue. The black man is there to show that the white man stands between him and the devil, and shows how many pro-slavery people saw whites as having the duty to evangelize the black man. The white man, by standing in the middle, seems to be protecting the uneducated black man from the devil, showing the “white man’s burden” point of view.
- SYMBOLISM IN IMAGE - The chains are the most obvious parallel between the poem, which refers to slaves as the “countrymen in chains.” The banner underneath represents the sentiments of freedom and equality which are brandished in the mind of the reader with its powerful use of language and strong punctuation (“What ho! our countrymen in chains...”). The image of him praying or looking to God for mercy is also symbolic of his ideas of God’s mercy and God’s role in the anti-slavery movement, as everyone shown in this selection pointed to religion and morality as the main driving force behind their ideals.
“For Grimké -- or any woman -- to exercise such influence, to threaten the South's "peculiar institution," was itself a new phenomenon in American life. She broke the long silence of women not just on slavery but on public matters generally. She was the first American-born woman to speak to mixed, so-called promiscuous, audiences of men and women, an activity which scandalized many in the North as well as in the South.”
“This is just what Anti-Slavery societies are doing; they are taking away the stone from the mouth of the tomb of slavery, where lies the putrid carcass of our brother. They want the pure light of heaven to shine into that dark and gloomy cave; they want all men to see how that dead body has been bound, how that face has been wrapped in the napkin of prejudice; and shall they wait beside that grave in vain? Is not Jesus still the resurrection and the life? Did He come to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison doors to them that are bound, in vain?”
“This opposition shows that slavery has done its deadliest work in the hearts of our citizens. Do you ask, then, "what has the North to do?" I answer, cast out first the spirit of slavery from your own hearts, and then lend your aid to convert the South. Each one present has a work to do, be his or her situation what it may, however limited their means, or insignificant their supposed influence. The great men of this country will not do this work; the church will never do it.”
“As a Southerner I feel that it is my duty to stand up here to-night and bear testimony against slavery. I have seen it -- I have seen it. I know it has horrors that can never be described. I was brought up under its wing: I witnessed for many years its demoralizing influences, and its destructiveness to human happiness.”
“It is admitted by some that the slave is not happy under the worst forms of slavery. But I have never seen a happy slave. I have seen him dance in his chains, it is true; but he was not happy. There is a wide difference between happiness and mirth.”
“No, no: and we do not remember them "as bound with them," if we shrink in the time of peril, or feel unwilling to sacrifice ourselves, if need be, for their sake. [Great noise.] I thank the Lord that there is yet life left enough to feel the truth, even though it rages at it -- that conscience is not so completely seared as to be unmoved by the truth of the living God.”
“But in the midst of temptation I was preserved, and my sympathy grew warmer, and my hatred of slavery more inveterate, until at last I have exiled myself from my native land because I could no longer endure to hear the wailing of the slave. I fled to the land of Penn; for here, thought I, sympathy for the slave will surely be found. But I found it not. The people were kind and hospitable, but the slave had no place in their thoughts.”
“Every man and every woman present may do soinething by showing that we fear not a mob, and, in the midst of threatenings and revilings, by opening our mouths for the dumb and pleading the cause of those who are ready to perish.”
“Women of Philadelphia! allow me as a Southern woman, with much attachment to the land of my birth, to entreat you to come up to this work. Especially let me urge you to petition. Men may settle this and other questions at the ballot-box, but you have no such right; it is only through petitions that you can reach the Legislature. It is therefore peculiarly your duty to petition. Do you say, "It does no good?" The South already turns pale at the number sent. They have read the reports of the proceedings of Congress, and there have seen that among other petitions were very many from the women of the North on the subject of slavery. This fact has called the attention of the South to the subject.”
Clearly the audience is geared to white men. All white men. He mentioned nothing of women.
America should end freedom because we are the land of the free. It is holding back all of the countrymen. Hence why the title is named “countrymen in chains.”
“I have heard much respecting the horrors of slavery; but may Heaven forbid that the generality of my color throughout these United States should experience any more of its horrors than to be a servant of servants, or hewers of wood and drawers of water! Tell us no more of southern slavery; for with few exceptions, although I may be very erroneous in my opinion, yet I consider our condition but little better than that. Yet, after all, methinks there are no chains so galling as the chains of ignorance--no fetters so binding as those that bind the soul, and exclude it from the vast field of useful and scientific knowledge.”
They wanted to emphasize the slavery is morally wrong. This image almost makes slavery okay. The fact that there is a little angel/devil saying it is a national sin sort of making it less threatening.
5. Slaves “crouching on the very plain.” The black slave is kneeling down. The titled even suggests the slaves’ captivity. They were tied together in chains.