Page:The Cambridge History of American Literature, v3.djvu/363

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345
"Uncle Tom's Cabin"

to capitalize the prejudice against those of foreign birth and the Catholic faith. Among its propagandists were S. F. B. Morse, whose Foreign Conspiracies Against the Liberties of the United States (1852) ran through seven editions, and Thomas R. Whitney, author of a Defense of American Policy as Opposed to the Encroachment of Foreign Influence (1856). These issues, also the industrial development and commercial expansion, tended to divert attention from theslavery question. Indeed, the capitalists of the Northeast and the large planters of the cotton states drifted toward a rapprochement. Noteworthy also was the fact that many defenders of slavery were found among the clergy of the North, and that silence on the issue became the policy of the churches. The Rev. Nehemiah Adams won notoriety by his favorable South Side View of Slavery (1854), as did also Nathan Lord, President of Dartmouth College, the Rev. Samuel Seabury of the Episcopal Church, Moses Stuart, Professor of Hebrew at Andover, and John Henry Hopkins, Episcopal Bishop of Vermont, for their various defences of slavery.

Three factors, however, kept alive and stimulated the moral interest in human bondage. One of these was the Federal Fugitive Slave Law, a part of the Great Compromise. There was considerable violence in resisting its enforcement, but its greatest contribution was to inspire a novel Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), a book which the author declared to be "a collection and arrangement of real incidents, of actions really performed, of words and expressions really uttered, grouped together with reference to a general result, in the manner that a mosaic artist groups his fragments of various stones into one general picture." The political significance of the book was that it made the people of the North and the West ponder questions which the Great Compromise, it was generally said, had settled. Very significant was its influence on the rising generation. Says James Ford Rhodes:

The mothers opinion was a potent factor in politics between 1852 and 1860, and boys in their teens in the one year were voters in the other. It is often remarked that previous to the war the Republican party attracted the great majority of schoolboys, and that the first voters were an important factor in the final success ... the youth of America whose first ideas on slavery were formed by read-