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Abolitionists Quotes

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"There were thousands of abolitionists who were free traders." - Robert Toombs

"Abolitionists were men of sharp angles. Organizing them was like binding crooked sticks in a bundle." - Jane Swisshelm

"Many abolitionists have yet to learn the ABC of woman's rights." - Susan B Anthony

"One can cite cases of Negroes who opposed emancipation and denounced the abolitionists." - Carter G Woodson

"I hear you have abolitionists here. We have a few in Illinois, but we shot one the other day." - Abraham Lincoln

"We've actually bought quite a number of historical pieces. We are doing a piece on the abolitionists, Harper's Ferry and the abolitionist John Brown with Paul Giamatti." - John Landgraf

"Wilberforce and the band of abolitionists knew that a private faith that did not act in the face of oppression was no faith at all." - Charles Colson

"Slave rebellions, especially the [1791] Haitian Revolution, had an ongoing effect on the ways in which abolitionists talked about ending slavery." - Manisha Sinha

"Is art influential? It can be - 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' rallied abolitionists, and 'The Jungle' provoked the demand for a safer food industry." - Will Shetterly

"Some of my ancestors were religious dissenters who came to America over three hundred years ago. Others were abolitionists in New England in the eighteen forties and fifties." - Pete Seeger

"There are those who view the abolitionists as just maniacs, apolitical fanatics who helped to cause the war, and Lincoln is the model of responsible statesmanship. I think that is a misconception, the idea that Lincoln knows what's possible and the abolitionists don't." - Eric Foner

"The seeds of freedom . . . have now been scattered where despotism and tyranny ranked and ruled, will be watered by the enlivening dews of God's clemency, till the reapers abolitionists shall shout the harvest home." - Henry McNeal Turner

"Throughout the three decades preceding the Civil War, the anticlerical ethos of the radical abolitionists was used against them by religious opponents of emancipation, who . . . even described abolitionism itself as an atheist plot." - Susan Jacoby

"Mark Twain married the daughter of one of New York State's leading Abolitionists, Jervis Langdon, who helped Frederick Douglass who became the great Negro leader to escape from slavery." - Hal Holbrook

"The seeds of freedom... have now been scattered where despotism and tyranny ranked and ruled, will be watered by the enlivening dews of God's clemency, till the reapers [abolitionists] shall shout the harvest home." - Henry McNeal Turner

"There is a large body of abolitionists in Clinton and Clark Counties in this state, and in Wayne County Indiana, that would undoubtedly support such a store, but whether their support would be sufficient, I am unable to say." - Gamaliel Bailey

"That a majority of the Abolitionists in this place would patronize a free labor store, in preference to others, I do not doubt; but we do not muster money in Cincinnati." - Gamaliel Bailey

"Enslaving each other was what human beings had done for ages. And the abolitionist movement was greeted with incredulity. Conservative spokesmen ridiculed the abolitionists as liberals, progressives, do-gooders, meddlers, and activists." - Paul Hawken

"I was in favour of the death penalty, and disposed to regard abolitionists as people whose hearts were bigger than their heads. Four years of close study of the subject gradually dispelled that feeling. In the end I became convinced that the abolitionists were right in their conclusions...and that far from the sentimental approach leading into their camp and the rational one into that of the supporters, it was the other way about." - Ernest Gowers

"In a democratic society, as Max Weber said, what is possible is only possible because some people have demanded the impossible. The abolitionists helped to create a public discourse in which men like Lincoln become possible. That doesn't mean Lincoln is an abolitionist. It means there is a public opinion out there which is being influenced by antislavery sentiment." - Eric Foner

"In one point of view, we, the abolitionists and colored people, should meet [the Dred Scott] decision, unlooked for and monstrous as it appears, in a cheerful spirit. This very attempt to blot out forever the hopes of an enslaved people may be one necessary link in the chain of events preparatory to the downfall and complete overthrow of the whole slave system." - Frederick Douglass

"Opponents of capital punishment argue that the state has no right to take a murderer's life. Apparently, one fact that abolitionists forget or overlook is that the state is acting not only on behalf of society, but also on behalf of the murdered person and the murdered person's family." - Dennis Prager

"What created democracy was Thomas Paine and Shays' Rebellion, the suffragists and the abolitionists and on down through the populists and the labor movement, including the Wobblies. Tough, in your face people... Mother Jones, Woody Guthrie... Martin Luther King and Caesar Chavez. And now it's down to us." - Jim Hightower

"Movements are not radical. Movements are the American way. A small group of abolitionists writing and speaking eventually led to the end of slavery. A few stirred-up women brought about women's voting. The Populist movement, the Progressive movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, the women's movement - the examples go on and on of 'little people' getting together and telling the truth about their lives. They made our government act." - Unita Blackwell

"Radical feminist theorists do not seek to make gender a bit more flexible, but to eliminate it. They are gender abolitionists, and understand gender to provide the framework and rationale for male dominance. In the radical feminist approach, masculinity is the behaviour of the male ruling class and femininity is the behaviour of the subordinate class of women. Thus gender can have no place in the egalitarian future that feminism aims to create." - Sheila Jeffreys

"Who freed the slaves? To the extent that they were ever u2018freed,' they were freed by the Thirteenth Amendment, which was authored and pressured into existence not by Lincoln but by the great emancipators nobody knows, the abolitionists and congressional leaders who created the climate and generated the pressure that goaded, prodded, drove, forced Lincoln into glory by associating him with a policy that he adamantly opposed for at least fifty-four of his fifty-six years of his life." - Lerone Bennett, Jr.

"It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation. Yes we can. It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights. Yes we can. It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness. Yes we can." - Barack Obama

"I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support, both inperson and property, from the government of Massachusetts, and not wait until they constitute a majority of one, before they suffer the right to prevail through them. I think that it is enough if they have God on their side, without waiting for that other one. Moreover, any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already." - Henry David Thoreau

"I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support, both in person and property, from the government of Massachusetts, and not wait until they constitute a majority of one, before they suffer the right to prevail through them. I think that it is enough if they have God on their side, without waiting for that other one. Moreover, any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already." - Henry David Thoreau

"There are Harvard grads, free thinkers, feminists, abolitionists, well-to-do people who want to go write poetry and live on a farm and cook and laugh and have a good time. As they themselves described it, it was an "inward facing" community. They were focusing on making a better existence for themselves, which I think is also the driving force of 20th century communalism in the US, the thought being that the world is corrupt, and we're going to build this little garden of innocence." - Christine Jennings

"You point out that war is only a symptom of the whole horrid business of human behavior, and cannot be isolated. And that, even if we abolish war, we shall not abolish hate and greed. So might it have been argued about slave emancipation, that slavery was but one aspect of human disgustingness, and that to abolish it would not end the barbarity that causes it. But did the abolitionists therefore waste their breath? And do we waste ours now in protesting against war?" - Rose Macaulay



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