Women's Participation in the British Antislavery Movement, 1824-1865

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As was true of many 19th-century reforms, the anti-slavery movement drew upon women's perceived special attributes: her moral superiority, her role as guardian of the purity of family and society, her spiritual standing in the religious community. Drawn together by their moral conviction of the evil of slavery, middle-class women from around Great Britain forged an active role for themselves in combatting chattel slavery. Their involvement was of great significance, allowing middle-class woman to work outside her home in a sphere of activity that encouraged her to exercise her initiative and translate moral principle into effective action. The crusade also established the mechanisms of organization and the rhetoric of emancipation which later female reformers would draw upon in the movement for their own rights.


"Grounded in an impressive bibliography of primary sources, this study makes a compelling case that women's anti-slavery activities in Scotland, Ireland, and England taught women the political skills they employed in the fight for women's rights during the last half of the nineteenth century. . . . Without losing its emphasis on British women's efforts, the book nevertheless reveals much about American women abolitionists and the constant interactions between these groups. . . . This work offers an easy-to-read synthesis of a complex history of women's anti-slavery activities. . . . Both the detailed analysis and the impressive bibliography make it an important work for readers interested in the anti-slavery movement, women's rights, and the general cultural history of nineteenth-century Britain." - Victorian Studies

"This book is essential reading for everyone interested in the abolitionist and women's rights movements in the U.S. or Great Britain. Gracefully narrated and fully footnoted, this book details the organization, purposes, activities and eventual demise of British female anti-slavery groups from the 1820s to the 1860s. . . . Future scholars will be grateful to Professor Halbersleben for providing both an overview of women's anti-slavery organizations and a context for further work." -- Judith Wellman

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