Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Racism, Race


The common perception has always been that when it comes to matters of race relations, Harriet Beecher Stowe is as close to perfect as a person can get. Americans’ opinion of her are usually very high. She is known for being a canonical figure when it comes to civil rights, a pioneer. When people hear the name, they usually think positive things. They think about the books she has written and how she helped start the Civil War to free the slaves. Attached to Stowe’s name is the idea that she was someone who looked out for the rights and equality of African Americans.

The evidence in the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, though, paints a very different picture of Harriet Beecher Stowe. She spends the majority of her novel committing racial offenses. Her black characters are written in a degrading and racist manner. She also seems more preoccupied with the saving of white souls than the saving of black souls. While the novel makes clear Stowe’s opposition to slavery, it is equally clear that what she proposes to replace it is something less than full equality. It also grows apparent that her foremost motive for writing this book was not to end racism or gain equality. While some may think Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a book advocating for equality, it is actually promoting racism, as well as going against the American desire, expressed in the Declaration of Independence, to achieve equality.

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