2 Jul 2022


Non-African Americans who risked their lives, reputations and wealth to help free thousands of slaves

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The abolitionist movement in the United States of America was made up of valiant non-African Americans, who helped the black Americans to fight against the institution of slavery before the start of the Civil War. These are non-African Americans who were able to risk their lives, reputations as well as wealth to assist the many slaves in fighting against slavery before the Civil War. They included prominent American leaders like Abraham Lincoln to brave female abolitionists who later became renowned champions of feminism and the rights of women. 

The first non-African American abolitionist was Thomas Jefferson. Despite being a slave owner, he wanted to outlaw slavery sometimes. For instance, Thomas Jefferson proposed a federal legislation meant to ban slavery in the year 1784 (Faulkner, 2014). However, this legislation failed to pass, losing by one vote. When he became President of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson passed the Act prohibiting the importation of slaves into the U.S. in the year 1807. He fought to have slavery criminalized. 

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The second non-African American abolitionist is Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin became the president of the Pennsylvania abolitionist group in 1785, which was founded by the Quakers (Waldstreicher, 2004). 

Another notable non-African American abolitionist was Abraham Lincoln who declared the Emancipation Declaration and led the United States of America into the Civil War that would then bring about an end to the institution of slavery (Faulkner, 2014). Abraham Lincoln did not directly speak against slavery, but he initiated actions that were meant to bring an end to this institution. He was openly opposed to the expansion of slavery into Northern America. 

Finally, there was Harriet Beecher Store who was a fierce anti-slavery campaigner. She wrote ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ in 1852, a very influential novel that helped enhance anti-slavery attitudes in the United States (Faulkner, 2014). 


Faulkner, C. (2014). The American Experience: The Abolitionists by Rob Rapley (review).  Civil War History 60 (1), 83-85. 

Waldstreicher, D. (2004).  Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery, and the American Revolution . London: Macmillan. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Non-African Americans who risked their lives, reputations and wealth to help free thousands of slaves.


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