To Set This World Right: The Antislavery Movement in Thoreau's Concord / Edition 1

To Set This World Right: The Antislavery Movement in Thoreau's Concord / Edition 1

by Sandra Harbert Petrulionis
ISBN-10:
0801441579
ISBN-13:
9780801441578
Pub. Date:
11/01/2006
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
ISBN-10:
0801441579
ISBN-13:
9780801441578
Pub. Date:
11/01/2006
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
To Set This World Right: The Antislavery Movement in Thoreau's Concord / Edition 1

To Set This World Right: The Antislavery Movement in Thoreau's Concord / Edition 1

by Sandra Harbert Petrulionis
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Overview

In the decade before the Civil War, Concord, Massachusetts, was a center of abolitionist sentiment and activism. To Set this World Right is the first book to recover and examine the voices, events, and influence of the antebellum antislavery movement in Concord. In addressing fundamental questions about the origin and nature of radical abolitionism in this most American of towns, Sandra Harbert Petrulionis frames the antislavery ideology of Henry Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson—two of Concord's most famous residents—as a product of family and community activism and presents the civic context in which their outspoken abolitionism evolved.

In this historic locale, radical abolitionism crossed racial, class, and gender lines as a confederation of neighbors fomented a radical consciousness, and Petrulionis documents how the Thoreaus, Emersons, and Alcotts worked in tandem with others in their community, including a slaveowner's daughter and a former slave. Additionally, she examines the basis on which Henry Thoreau—who cherished nothing more than solitary tramps through his beloved woods and bogs—has achieved lasting fame as a militant abolitionist.

This book marshals rich archival evidence of the diverse tactics exploited by a small coterie of committed activists, largely women, who provoked their famous neighbors to action. In Concord, the fugitive slave Shadrach Minkins was clothed and fed as he made his way to freedom. In Concord, the adolescent daughters of John Brown attended school and recovered from their emotional distress after their father's notorious public hanging. Although most residents of the town maintained a practiced detachment from the plight of the enslaved, women and men whose sole objective was the moral urgency of abolishing slavery at last prevailed on the philosophers of self-culture to accept the responsibility of their reputations.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801441578
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 11/01/2006
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.88(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Sandra Harbert Petrulionis is Associate Professor of English at Penn State Altoona. She is the editor of Journal 8: 1854 in The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau and coeditor of More Day to Dawn: Thoreau's Walden for the Twenty-First Century.

What People are Saying About This

Robert A. Gross

Henry David Thoreau liked to boast that he marched to a different drummer, but when it came to protesting slavery, his mother, sisters, and aunts set the beat. As Sandra Harbert Petrulionis demonstrates in fine detail and lively prose, female abolitionists were the driving force behind the antislavery activism for which Concord, Massachusetts, became legendary in antebellum America. Spurning the expediency of politicians and the abstractions of Transcendentalists, the women of Concord labored tirelessly for three decades to protest the sin of slavery in a nation supposedly devoted to liberty and equality. In the town famous for the battle that launched the Revolutionary War, women fired their own 'shot heard round the world' in the protracted struggle to realize the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. In charting their sacrifices and contributions, Petrulionis restores the women of Concord to their rightful role in the contest against slavery and the shaping of the New England tradition of reform.

Douglas Egerton

It is a refreshing change to read an elegantly crafted book which understands that writers like Emerson lived in a precise place and time and were influenced by the world around them. In addition, Sandra Harbert Petrulionis writes very well.

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