Did Abolitionists Cause the Civil War?

Here’s Professor Manisha Sinha of the University of Massachusetts Amherst delivering a fact-filled lecture on abolitionists. The video’s description says, “In this thought-provoking talk, Professor Manisha Sinha challenges the long-standing notion that abolitionists were irresponsible extremists who helped cause the Civil War. She also questions recent historical wisdom that casts abolitionists as bourgeois reformers burdened by racial paternalism and economic conservatism. Starting with early black activism and the Quaker-dominated abolition societies, Sinha recovers the largely forgotten impact of free and enslaved African Americans who shaped the abolition movement’s ideology, rhetoric, and tactics. She explores the connections between abolition and other radical movements such as utopian socialism and early feminism. In challenging an entrenched system of labor and racial exploitation, Sinha shows that the abolitionist vision linked the slave’s cause to redefining American democracy and the ongoing global struggle for human rights.

About the Presenter:
Manisha Sinha is Professor of Afro-American Studies and History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In addition to The Slave’s Cause (Yale University Press, 2016), she is author of The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina, which was named one of ten must-read books on slavery, and many other acclaimed works. Sinha is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, and the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. She has written for, and been interviewed by, many leading news outlets, and appeared on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show in 2014.”


One comment

  1. bob carey · · Reply

    Very informing lecture. I found of particular interest the European involvement and support of the Abolitionist movement. I had no idea of the levels of the French, German and particularly the Irish support for the movement. New knowledge is always good. It was surprising to me how the Irish-American community was split between the big city democratic political organizations and the Irish Republican movement from the “Auld Sod”.
    To answer the question posed by the title of your post, Abolitionist did not cause the Civil war,slavery caused Abolition.

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