Abolitionism in America

Uncle Tom Sparks Public Debate
horizontal rule
As Uncle Tom’s Cabin’s popularity soared, the novel provoked heated debate over the authenticity of Stowe’s depiction of slavery, and whether her characters were “real.” Stowe’s opponents argued that her portrayal of slavery was misleading and exaggerated. Her critics began publishing pro-slavery tracts to refute the facts presented in the novel. Stowe responded by releasing her own book, The Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which provided documentation on the facts in her novel, and named the books and the people that served as her sources of information. Stowe’s sources remain controversial, since she conducted much of her research on slavery only after the novel was published.

Continue tour

horizontal rule


Cornell University Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections Cornell University Library