Responsible Reformers or Irresponsible Agitators


The studied material offers a detailed analysis of the events that took place in the early 19th century. From the presented discussions and images, the reader can identify the goals, achievements, and challenges of the abolitionists. Modern historians describe them as responsible reformers since they relied on logical explanations to eradicate slavery in America. According to them, such a malpractice was inappropriate and capable of affecting the lives and experiences of the affected victims. However, some of these abolitionists were irresponsible agitators who relied on the use of force and violence as the most appropriate approach to end to slavery (Bessler, 2018). Consequently, the actions of such individuals disoriented the way of citizen’s lives in the South. The best example from the studied images is that of John Brown. This complexity explains why it would be wrong to describe all abolitionists as irresponsible agitators.

Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence became the guiding principle for empowering and encouraging the abolitionists to fight slavery and focus on new strategies to fight for equality. For instance, such notions encouraged more people to promote liberty for all and appreciate to overcome the challenge of ignorance. The abolitionists began to rely on the statement that every American citizen was born equal and had unalienable liberties (Griffin, 2018). This understanding compelled them to formulate new ideologies and messages that could encourage their followers to appreciate the fact that all men were born equal (Griffin, 2018). For example, the studied images describe how the increasing cases of inhumanity and the intentions of the Declaration of Independence formed the basis for every anti-slavery agenda and rhetoric. The emerging abolitionist thought continued to guide and empower more individuals to focus on the best strategies to end slavery.

The Gag Rule

Following the success of the Abolitionist Movement, the American House of Representatives introduced the “gag rule” with the aim of prohibiting all discussions and arguments of any petition that was anti-slavery in nature. This decision forced more opponents to become more concerned and insistent. Congressmen from the South were adamant and unwilling to free their slaves since they supported the region’s economy. The introduction of such a rule offended Congressmen from the Northern States (Bessler, 2018). Consequently, the number of petitions against slavery continued to increase. The overall effect was that more people and leaders were willing to talk more about anti-slavery ideologies than ever before. These developments explain why the war against such a malpractice took a different path after the introduction of the “gag rule”. The example from Image 2 reveals that the leaders from the North were convinced that Congress was mandated to end slavery in accordance with the Constitution.

Women’s Rights Movement

The arguments behind the Women’s Rights Movement are attributable to the gains associated with the Abolitionist Movement. For example, most of the people who participated in the First Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in the year 1848 were part of the anti-slavery movement. They relied on the acquired ideas to explain why women and were equal since they were part of the same society. They relied on the Declaration of Independence to support their thoughts and encourage more people to part of the process (Griffin, 2018). With such a strong foundation, the participants would establish a new movement that gained momentum within a short period. Although very little success was recorded during the time, the movement set the stage for the future of feminism.


Bessler, J. D. (2018). The Abolitionist Movement comes of age: From capital punishment as a lawful sanction to a peremptory, international law norm barring executions. Montana Law Review, 79(1), 7-48. Web.

Griffin, S. (2018). Antislavery utopias: Communitarian labor reform and the Abolitionist Movement. The Journal of the Civil War Era, 8(2), 243-268. Web.

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