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Harriet Beecher Stowe and Her Influences on American History

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Essay title: Harriet Beecher Stowe and Her Influences on American History

Harriet Beecher Stowe and Her Influences on American History

Harriet Beecher Stowe was a very influential writer. Stowe wrote for a political purpose and for people to understand the inhumanity of slavery. She expressed her opinions in each of her writings.

Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in Litchfield, Connecticut and brought up with puritanical strictness. She had one sister and six brothers. Her father was a controversial Calvinist preacher, thus influenced Harriet’s religious, and political views. When Stowe was four years old her mother Harriet Foote, passed away. When Stowe was eleven years old, she entered the seminary at Hartford, Connecticut, kept by her older sister, Catherine. At the seminary she excelled in writing thorough compositions. Four years later she was employed as an assistant teacher (Tackache 27).

In 1832, her father received an offer to become the president of Lane Theological Seminary, in Cincinnati, Ohio. After accepting the offer, the whole Beecher family moved to Ohio. In Ohio, Stowe was able to observe the cruel world of slavery and the Underground Railroad. She was then inspired to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was the first American novel to have an African American hero. A year later, Catherine and Harriet founded a new seminary, the Western Female Institute. With her sister, Stowe wrote a children’s geography book, entitled Primary Geography for Children. In 1834 Stowe began her literary career when she won a prize contest of the Western Monthly Magazine. In order to help support her family, Stowe became a regular contributor of stories and essays. (Tackache 28)

The Mayflower was Stowe’s first independent book, and it appeared in 1843. Her book was recognized by the Semi Colon Club, a Cincinnati literary society, and became enjoyed by many. Through the club she met and became acquainted with Calvin and Eliza Stowe. Only a short while after, Eliza died during an epidemic of cholera. After Eliza’s death Harriet and Calvin became closer friends. Calvin was a clergyman and professor, whom zealously opposed slavery. On January 6, 1836 Harriet Beecher and Calvin Stowe were married, and later had six children. (Tackache 31)

During another outbreak of cholera the Stowe’s sixth child died. She felt a great loss in her life and began to feel the same way slave women of that time felt. She began to understand that slave women were constantly having children sold to another master, and never being able to see them. She suddenly understood the pain of separation, thus she became even more angered by the idea of slavery. Throughout the pain and anguish she suffered, she still remained to have faith in her religion. (Butcher 153)

Stowe and her new husband moved to Brunswick Maine, where Calvin accepted a professorship at Bowdon College. The work of the Underground Railroad deeply touched both Calvin and Harriet. They sheltered fugitive slaves in their own home in Maine. Harriet had more free time, and began writing about the slavery she had observed, in Ohio. She published her accounts in the National Era, a Washington antislavery paper. The paper focused on public interest on the issue of slavery, and it was extremely controversial. In writing the book, Stowe reflected

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