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Harriet Beecher Stowe

When Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, the sixteenth President of the United States jokingly stated, ôSo youÆre the little woman who wrote the book that started this great warö (Stowe [2] 2004, 1). While said in jest, LincolnÆs statement, referring to Uncle TomÆs Cabin, bears a kernel of truth with respect to StoweÆs influence on abolition through literature. Far from just an abolitionist, StoweÆs unique brand of feminism and spirituality influenced her literature as much as her disdain for the cruel institution of slavery. This analysis will demonstrate how StoweÆs being a woman influenced and contributed to her literary works.

One of the greatest influences on StoweÆs literature stemmed from the fact of motherhood. The mother of seven children, one of StoweÆs sons, Samuel, died from cholera. The loss of her beloved son inspired Stowe to write her most successful work Uncle TomÆs Cabin. StoweÆs grief and heartbreak over the loss of her son led her to identify with slave mothers whose children were routinely taken from them. In a letter to Eliza Cabot Follen, Stowe explained her feelings, ôIt was at his dying bed and at his grave that I learned what a poor slave mother may feel when her child is torn away from heràI felt I could never be consoled for it unless this crushing of my own heart might enable me to work out some great good to othersö (Stowe [1] 1852, 1).

Aside from motherhood, StoweÆs religious and puritanical upbringing endowed her with other qualities that influenced and contributed to her writings. The daughter of a Calvinist preacher and the wife of a professor at her fatherÆs theological seminary, StoweÆs religious upbringing filled her with moral righteousness. As a woman, she was prevented from entering the ministry, but she often championed womenÆs rights as much as the rights of all individuals. Through numerous travels to Europe, Stow


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Harriet Beecher Stowe. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 12:55, December 02, 2020, from