Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe(June 14, 1811- July1, 1896) was an abolitionist and author, who was the first author in America to have a book with the distinction of the international bestseller. She grew up in a huge family with thirteen siblings, who all grew up to be either ministers, reformers, teachers, and authors who were well known at their time. Harriet had a husband named Calvin Stowe, who was a seminary teacher and shared her stance on abolition. They got married on January 6, 1836 and had seven children together. When she was growing up, she received formal education at Sarah Pierces Litchfield Female Academy. At the age of 21, she moved with her father and sister named Catherine to Cincinnati. Her sister was an author and teacher, who helped shape Harriet’s social views. When she moved to Cincinnati, she found her writing voice, as she was exposed to the cruelty of slavery first hand. This was because slavery was a major issue in Cincinnati. She heard stories from ex-slaves about their times as slaves, and it influenced her greatly. She didn’t approve of slavery, and she started writing to help end it. In 1830 Congress passed the fugitive slave law, which was a law that stated that any slave master could recapture their runaway slaves and required slaves are returned no matter where they were. This act by Congress gave Harriet the final push and ignited a fire in Harriet prompting her to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin which was published on March 20, 1852. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was an emotional literary depiction of the impact of slavery exploring family, home, religion, and justice. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the first novel in American history to capture an African American as the protagonist. It sold faster than any book out the gate, and in the 19th century only the bible sold more books then it. Uncle Tom’s Cabin changed the course of history and helped shift the public view on slavery. Harriet Beecher Stowe was influenced by numerous things when writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The community in which she lived in, her personal opinions, her family background, her religious beliefs, and her education all influenced Stowe’s desire to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin. She also did much more research, even contacting Frederick Douglass to ask to be put in touch with ex-slaves who could ensure the accuracy of her story. She used these influences and based Uncle Tom’s Cabin off of them. For example, certain characters and events in uncle tom’s cabin was based on Stowe’s life and things she learned. Additionally, the life of Josiah Henson, who was her friend was partially based off of uncle tom. Her daughter that died was based off of Eva. Lastly, Harriet wrote this book because she wanted to portray the very worst aspects of slavery. Also to rouse the publics support on the abolition movement. Harriet Beecher Stowe gained many achievements in her lifetime. Another reason was as she stated in a 1853 letter “I wrote what I did because as a women, as a mother, I was oppressed and broken-hearted with the sorrows and injustices I saw… It is no merit in the sorrowful that they weep… not to me, that I must speak for the oppressed- who cannot speak for themselves.” Throughout Harriet Stowe’s lifetime she achieved many things. For example, she met Abraham Lincoln in 1862, and he said to her ” So you’re the little women who wrote a book that made this great war.” She published over 30 books in her lifetime. Some of her most famous works were a tale of the great dismal swamp(1856), the real reality of orss island: A story of the coast of main(1862), and the ministers wooling(1854). Lastly, in 1846 she was put in the national women’s hall of fame.