What is the American Anti-Slavery Society?
Anti-slavery society was the first organization with the national reach that tried to end slavery and promoted freedom among African Americans through lectures, publications, and speeches. The organization was founded in Philadelphia in 1833 by Theodore Dwight Weld, Arthur Tappan, and Arthur’s brother Lewis. William Lloyd Garrison was the leader of the society, who became their first president.
The society has been fighting against slavery by lectures, public speeches, petitions, and publications. Their main goal was to address the slavery issue and to show how immoral and inhuman slavery is. William Lloyd Garrison was the first president of the organization, and it grew up to 150,000 members during his presidency. It became a significant event in history as it was the first organization with a national reach that was fighting the rights of African Americans. The people who joined the society were philanthropists, participants of the free black community, or people from religious circles.
The significance of the Anti-Slavery organization was in its demand for an immediate end of slavery and also believed that African American people should receive political, economic, and social rights. The organization had many opponents from the North as the business owners would not benefit from the anti-slavery movement as they depended on the goods there were imported from the states with slaves. The society is known for its publications in magazines and newspapers. The future leader of the organization launched a newspaper called The Liberator in 1831, that demanded racial equality. Nat Turner published a slave rebellion in Virginia that caused deaths among white people from the South. Ultimately, the events contributed to the development of the anti-slavery movement in the North, which led to the creation of society.
The organization contributed to the abolition and argued the Constitution as it stated that the Constitution is not accurate until everyone in the country has the same rights. That is why they issued a “Declaration of Sentiments” that became one of the most important documents. The Declaration stated that slavery was a violation of natural law, the Constitution, and the will of God. The idea of equality was expressed in the Declaration: “all persons of color, who possess the qualifications which are demanded of others, ought to be admitted forthwith to the enjoyment of the same privileges, and the exercise of the same prerogatives, as others.” Therefore, the purpose of the organization was to reach the public through lectures and publications to convey the idea that all people must be free and that slavery is not acceptable.
The Anti-Slavery society split in 1840 due to the Garrison’s radical views. Some members decided to form the Liberal Party, hoping to end slavery by giving power to the people of their beliefs and making them police officers. The Garrison’s views were too radical as he presented the Constitution as an illegal document, and he believed that North should create its own country if it does not want to accept the freedom of African Americans. Most members thought that even though slavery is unacceptable, they believed in the legitimacy of a Constitution. The disagreement in the role of women in the organization was the other reason for a split. The members did not want to give power to a woman even though they tried to join the abolitionist movement, as they believed that women are inferior and cannot take the same role as men. The society remained split until the Thirteenth Amendment that ended slavery throughout the entire country.