As historians have gradually come to recognize, the involvement of women was central to the anti-slavery cause in both Britain and the United States. Like their male counterparts, women abolitionists did not all speak with one voice. Among the major differences between women were their religious affiliations, an aspect of their commitment that has not been studied in detail. Yet it is clear that the desire to live out and practice their religious beliefs inspired
many of the women who participated in anti-slavery activities in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
This book examines the part that the traditions, practices, and beliefs of English Protestant dissent and the American Puritan and evangelical traditions played in women's anti-slavery activism. Focusing particularly on Baptist, Congregational, Presbyterian and Unitarian women, the essays in this volume move from accounts of individual women's participation in the movement as printers and writers, to assessments of the negotiations and the occasional conflicts between different denominational
groups and their anti-slavery impulses. Together the essays in this volume explore how the tradition of English Protestant Dissent shaped the American abolitionist movement, and the various ways in which women belonging to the different denominations on both sides of the Atlantic drew on their
religious beliefs to influence the direction of their anti-slavery movements. The collection provides a nuanced understanding of why these women felt compelled to fight for the end of slavery in their respective countries.
Elizabeth J. Clapp received her BA and PhD from the University of London. She has taught for a number of years at the University of Leicester where she is a Senior Lecturer in American History. She has published a book and several articles on women's activism in nineteenth-century America and has recently completed a study of Mrs. Anne Royall and the political culture of the early American republic. Julie Roy Jeffrey received her BA from Harvard College and her PhD from Rice University. She teaches at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland and has held Fulbright awards for teaching in Italy, Denmark, and the Netherlands. She works on women and reform in the nineteenth century United States.
Introduction ; 1. Complicating the Story: Religion and Gender in the Historical Representation of British and American Anti-Slavery ; 2. Martha Gurney and the Anti-Slave Trade Movement, 1788-94 ; 3. 'We Ought to Obey God rather than Man:' Women, Anti-Slavery, and Nonconformist Religious Cultures ; 4. The Dissenting Voice of Elizabeth Heyrick: An Exploration of the Links Between Gender, Religious Dissent, and Anti-Slavery Radicalism ; 5. Immediatism, Dissent, and Gender: Women and the Sentimentalization of Transatlantic Anti-Slavery Appeals ; 6. Women Abolitionists and the Dissenting Tradition ; 7. 'On the Side of Righteousness:' Women, the Church, and Abolition ; 8. Writing Against Slavery: Harriet Beecher Stowe