Abolitionism by Shmoop

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Equally as important, if not more so, the AAS also supported political and religious equality among the races. This went beyond emancipation to a demand for race equality that many antebellum Americans (North and South) automatically associated with interracial sex, or "amalgamation," as they called it. Now that really incited the mobs-many felt they were literally battling for the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race itself. During the summer of 1835, Society official Elizur Wright had to barricade his doors in New York City "with bars and planks an inch thick," for fear of the uncontrollable mobs.

After 1787, Quakers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts led the fight against the ratification of the Constitution, which they deemed immoral for sanctioning slavery. Quakers to be Spared in the Planned Slave Rebellion In 1800, a slave named Gabriel (some historians called him Gabriel Prosser, after his master's surname) unsuccessfully conspired to seize Richmond, Virginia, with a large force of 1,000 armed slaves. The blacks were then to proceed with a general slaughter of whites. Prosser planned that the Quakers should be one of only three groups of whites-the others were the French and the Methodists-to be spared.

Current President Andrew Jackson wanted severe penalties meted out to the antislavery movement and their "unconstitutional and wicked" activities. Southerners wanted a total rejection of the petitions; what they got by February 1836 was a resolution tabling antislavery petitions, prohibiting their publication, and censoring any discussion or even mention of them on the floor of Congress. Southern resistance underscored the petitions' effectiveness. Women played a key role in organizing the petition campaigns: in the 1837-38 drive coordinated by the American Anti-Slavery Society as a response to the gag rule, women outnumbered men two to one in a sampling of 67,000 signatures on 402 petitions.

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