CSIS Public Lecture with Professor Manisha Sinha, Draper Chair in American History, University of Connecticut. This talk explores the central role of slave resistance in the emergence and development of the abolition movement in the United States from the American Revolution to the Civil War.
Overturning the conventional image of abolitionists as white bourgeois reformers burdened by racial paternalism and economic conservatism, it argues that slave resistance radicalized abolitionist ideology and tactics.
The relationship between slave rebellions and runaways and the American antislavery was proximate and continuous. Fugitive slave abolitionists provided the best riposte to the proslavery argument and came to lead the abolition movement on the eve of the Civil War.
The actions of slave runaways laid the foundations of the emancipation process during the war when thousands of slaves defected to Union Army lines.