Opponents of slavery used legal, religious, and economic arguments to defend their position of the institution of slavery. Mostly composed of the people from the North, many people wanted to do away with the evils of slavery. They felt it was immoral to call any person property of another. Opponents of slavery came up with many ideas to try to put an end to slavery such as works by David Wilmot, the formation of the Republican Party, Harriet Beecher Stowe's writing of "Uncle Tom's Cabin", and the Underground Railroad. Abolitionists, or those who worked to dispose of slavery, did everything in their power to seek justice.
David Wilmot proposed his proviso, which stated, "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist" in any territory gained from Mexico. In the North, the Wilmot Proviso became a rallying cry for those who opposed slavery. Within time, legislatures of fourteen states endorsed the Wilmot Proviso. The Wilmot Proviso moved to exclude slavery from the acquired territory and was approved by the House on August 8, 1846. The principle behind the proviso became the basic policy of both the Free-Soil Party and the Republican Party.
Wilmot claimed that it was not that he necessarily felt sorry for slaves, rather that it was his duty to defend the rights of white men. However, whether or not he realized the immoral factors behind slavery, he did realize the political factors. Whether Wilmot wanted to end slavery for political or immoral reasons, he as well as many others did what they could to show their strong opposition. During this time period, the Whig Party had split up due to the fighting between the North and South on the issue of slavery. A new party began to come about, the Republican Party.
The federation was composed of former members of the Whig, Free-Soil, and Know-Nothing parties, along with Northern Democrats who were dissatisfied with their party's attitude on the slavery issue. The early Republicans came about, as they stood strong on their opposition to extending slavery into the Western territories. Abraham Lincoln became the 16th President of the United States, and the first elected Republican. Lincoln denied the fact "that there can be moral rights in the enslaving of one man by another. " Lincoln felt strongly that the founders of our country founded the United States on the premises that everyone was created equal.
He felt slavery was a "cancer"" on the republic, and that the acceptance of slavery was nowhere written in the constitution. Republicans gained their supporters by helping to rally people against slavery, and they helped to show the evils of slavery. Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was a book that captured the hearts of many opponents of slavery. On the social level, Stowe's fictional book showed what the lives were for many of the blacks on the plantations in the South. Stowe's novel was exceedingly popular, and in only nine months the book sold over three hundred thousand copies.
By 1853, over a million copies of the novel were sold, and many people stood firm on their view of slavery, that it was disgusting and immoral. In "Uncle Tom's Cabin", Stowe showed the evils of slavery, indicting greatly upon the institution. Stowe opened the eyes of many people who were simply oblivious to how horrible slavery really was. Southerners felt pressured by this novel, as it stirred opposition. It became quite obvious to many that slavery was simply disgusting. Not only was slavery immoral, but also it went against the religion of many.
People felt that slavery went against the constitution, and even the bible. The Abolitionist movement emphasized Jesus' and St. Paul's general statements concerning love, the equality of all persons, and the "Golden Rule" (treating others as you want yourself to be treated like). At first, many Christian groups and individuals supported slavery, citing the many Biblical passages as justification. However, within time, there was an increasing percentage of Christians who realized that even though slavery was disregarded and regulated by passages throughout the Bible, it was overpoweringly immoral.
Another powerful step toward the ending of slavery was the establishment of the Underground Railroad. By definition, this was a loose network of antislavery northerners-mostly blacks-that illegally helped fugitive slaves reach safety in the free states or Canada. Set up, were abolitionist stations all across the border state region. Harriet Tubman, a woman who was fortunate enough to escape slavery, was one of the most famous abolitionists of her time. The Underground Railroad brought many blacks to safety, bringing more people to learn about the evils that slavery condemned.
Numerous white abolitionists, and sometimes Quakers, joined with blacks as agents of slave liberation at various points to help, guide, and instruct runaways on ways to escape without being caught. Many slaves were caught, and this was unfortunate. However, the Underground Railroad put pressure on the slavery crisis, making the crisis more serious an issue, and served as a symbol against coercion. Opponents of slavery used legal, religious, and economic arguments to defend their position of the institution of slavery.
The constitution guarantees the rights of liberty and justice to all people. It is not fair to exclude slaves from these rights. Just because of their skin color, it should not mean that they are less of a person than anybody else. Nobody should have the right to call another person his or her "property. " Many northerners fully understood this concept, and worked exceptionally hard to have slavery abolished. They realized all of the many horrible factors behind slavery, and the tribulations it brought.