This volume calls up the voices of the antebellum labor movement and abolitionists, enabling the reader to understand more clearly the process that led Northern workers to support Lincoln in waging war against slaveholders.
Using documents drawn from newspapers, magazines, and books, this volume provides a documentary history of the relationships between labor and abolitionists from the early 1830s to the Civil War. It includes newspaper articles from mainstream dailies as well as from abolitionist journals and the labor press. The voices heard from include prominent abolitionist leaders, grass roots activists, representatives of the labor movement, land reformers, and utopian advocates of universal reform. The book shows labor's response to such critical episodes as the 1831 Nat Turner Revolt, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, John Brown's execution, and the election of Abraham Lincoln.
Themes covered include the contrast between wage labor and chattel slavery, the abolitionists' outreach to white labor, the views of reformers who held that a universal solution to the labor question took priority over abolition, the varying responses of labor activists to the slavery question, and labor's growing role in the 1850s as a constituent in an antislavery coalition. At the same time, the book notes the continued presence of racism and specific instances of friction between white and black workers, as in the explosive violence of the 1863 New York City Draft Riot.
Acknowledgments Introduction Wage Labor and Chattel Slavery Abolition Addresses Labor Land Monopoly, Universal Reform and Slavery Voices of Labor on Slavery and Abolition From the 1850s' Crisis to Civil War Index