In 1852, the United States of America was anything but united. The divisive issue of slavery was roiling the nation, which argued ad nauseam about the extension of slavery in new states as the nation pushed westward. Less than a decade later, Americans would fight each other in a Civil War that would claim over half a million lives before it was all said and done.
In 1852, one of the most important events took place in the debate over the political and moral propriety of slavery. That year, Harriet Beecher Stowe, an ardent abolitionist in the Northeast, published her famous anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which became an instant hit in the United States and spawned Southern responses in literature that depicted slavery as a benign institution. Given the debate that Uncle Tom’s Cabin helped spawn, historians have viewed Stowe’s classic as a harbinger of the Civil War itself.
The historical importance of Uncle Tom’s Cabin remains well understood today, but the book is also remembered today for certain depictions and stereotypes of black people. These stereotypes include the affable “mammy,” the "p********y" stereotype of black children; and, of course, an “Uncle Tom”, which has ironically become a pejorative for a person who suffers dutifully for his boss.
This edition of Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin is specially formatted with a Table of Contents and pictures of Stowe, the first edition’s original illustrations, and more.