The Abolitionist Movement
Documents Decoded
by Christopher Cameron
July 2014, 253pp, 8 1/2x11
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-512-1
$96, £74, 84€, A132
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-513-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Why was slavery widely accepted as a system of labor until the American Revolution?

Intended for high school and undergraduate students, this work provides an engaging overview of the abolitionist movement that allows readers to consider history more directly through more than 20 primary source documents.

The Abolitionist Movement: Documents Decoded collects primary sources pertaining to various aspects of the American anti-slavery movement in the 18th and 19th centuries and presents these firsthand sources alongside accessibly written, expert commentary in a visually stimulating format. Making use of primary source documents that include pamphlets, articles, speeches, slave narratives, and court decisions, the book models how scholars interpret primary sources and shows readers how to critically evaluate the key documents that chronicle this major American movement.

The work begins with an essay that contextualizes the documents and guides readers toward perceiving the narrative that comes into focus when the seemingly disparate elements are read as a collection. Annotations throughout the book translate difficult passages into lay language, suggest comparisons of key passages, and encourage the reader to cross-reference documents within the volume. This book will illuminate American abolitionism and U.S. history prior to the Civil War while helping readers improve their ability to analyze and interpret primary source information—a key skill for both high school and undergraduate level students.


  • Includes a concise introduction that summarizes the critical points in the history of slavery and abolition
  • Provides carefully selected key documents that represent the full range of American thoughts on slavery
  • Supplies useful annotations that guide the reader's analysis and shows how historians deconstruct documents
  • Presents information and materials that help readers to understand the forces that supported and opposed slavery, thereby giving students a better grasp of American history in general
Christopher Cameron, PhD, is assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the author of To Plead Our Own Cause: African Americans in Massachusetts and the Making of the Antislavery Movement. Cameron received his doctorate in American history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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