Fear and Resentment: The Southern Reaction to Uncle Tom’s Cabin Before and After the Civil War

By: Daniel Petschauer


By 1850, the United States had begun to split on the issue of slavery, which existed solely in the American South by the mid-19th century. For decades the nation had attempted to maintain a delicate balance between slave states and free states. This created a building sectional divide in the nation as the two sections were growing further apart politically, economically, socially, and culturally. This divide hit its high point during the Congressional sessions of 1849 and 1850, when the future of slavery in the West became the dominate issue. Congressmen from North and South fought, both politically and physically, over the issues of slavery in the newly acquired territory from Mexico, as well as over the inclusion of the Fugitive Slave Clause, which was seen in the North as highly controversial.[1] Simultaneously in the North, the Abolitionist movement was gaining popularity and influence over the course of the 1840’s. Seeking to break the two party system and fight what they called the “Slave Power,” the abolitionist movment began attracting more supporters through a media campaign that used newspapers, speeches, and books to spread their anti-slavery message. The most popular and significant of these was Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published in 1852. This abolitionist novel tells the story of Uncle Tom, an enslaved person, who is bought by a white slave owner after saving his daughter Eva. Tom’s owner later dies and is put under the ownership of Simon Legree, who refuses to free Tom and whips him to death. Throughout the plot, Tom maintains a steadfast, dignified, and Christian outlook. Stowe was able to capture the nation’s attention with her story that commented on slavery, race, gender, and class. The novel also tapped into the growing dissatisfaction with Northern politicians’ roles in maintaining the Slave Power. By revealing these deeply entrenched social issues, Uncle Tom’s Cabin’s impact far exceeded the literary quality of the story. As historian David Potter noted, “In almost every respect Uncle Tom’s Cabin lacked the standard qualifications for such great literary success,”

The novel’s immediate success brought the abolitionist movement’s messages to a national audience and became the most popular novel in American literary history.[2] This prompted widespread applause and condemnation split, just as the issue of slavery itself, on sectional lines. Uncle Tom’s Cabin played a substantial role in introducing people to  the growing anti-slavery movement; which over the course of the 1850’s was able to rise to the level of major political party in the Republican faction, which by 1860 had won the White House. This caused a massive amount of resentment from many in the South who saw Stowe’s novel as the catalyst for the ending of slavery and the attempted reorganizing of Southern society during Reconstruction. The resentment would last for decades after the war as many continued to reject Uncle Tom’s Cabin well into the 20th century.

This paper will separate itself from these works by focusing solely on the American South and the media campaign that existed in Southern newspapers and magazines after the war. It will show the campaign waged by white Southerners to discredit and defame Stowe and Uncle Tom’s Cabin changed little after the war. The real shift in Southern responses from the antebellum to the postbellum period was from fear to resentment. The arguments and methods they used did not change. This development reflected the hurt pride many Southerners felt after the Civil War that fed into the Lost Cause narrative, which saw many in the South seeking to justify slavery and secession. Indeed, by showing the limited impact the loss of the Civil War and the end of slavery had on the Southern views of the novel, this essay will demonstrate that the war only hardened many in the South’s view of the antebellum period as a lost golden age in American history.


Much has been written about the reaction and impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the almost one hundred and seventy years since the novel’s publication. The most notable of these are Thomas Gossett’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture and Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America by David Reynolds. In his 1985 book, Gossett, looks into how Stowe’s novel was shaped by American history leading up to the 1850’s and how the novel affected American culture over the course of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Devoting large sections to analyzing the reaction of the South to the novel before and after the war, Gossett, shows a substantial shift in the way people saw the novel. Before the war the reaction was to completely reject the novel as an attack on Southern slave society, while after the war the quality of the novel comes under attack, along with the argument that Tom was the example of slavery’s beneficial qualities. This contrasts with Reynolds’ argument which focuses on reaction abroad, and how Uncle Tom’s Cabin shaped American politics, reactions from foreign readers, and how the popularity of the novel created and hardened racial stereotypes in the late 19th century.[3]

Other research into the reactions and impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin includes numerous scholarly journal articles. Some of the most prominent authors of these articles are historians Jim O’Loughlin, Stephen Hirsch, Robert Lavine, Michelle Wallace, and Anne Marshall. The first of these was published in the 1978 edition of Studies in the American Renaissance, where Stephen Hirsch argues that popularity of the novel led it to dominate almost every facet of American culture prior to the war. This is seen through the substantial amount of music, art, plays, novels, and discussion produced in reaction to Stowe’s novel, this reaction is mainly split politically based on people’s opinion of slavery. Hirsch looks briefly into the reaction of Frederick Douglas and his self-titled abolitionist newspaper, a topic that Robert Lavine analyzes more in depth in his 1992 article for American Literature. In this article Lavine uses the Fredrick Douglass’ Paper to argue that Uncle Tom’s Cabin acted as an awakening to the horrors of slavery to a largely unaware White Northern population. He also points out that those who saw slavery’s terror firsthand took the opportunity to broadcast their experiences to a larger audience. The free and escaped people of color used the widespread popularity of Stowe’ novel to further their abolitionist cause. Jim O’Loughlin’s article “Articulating ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’”, published in 2000, argues that many of the critics of Stowe’s novel miss the impact of the novel as a “barometer and agent of cultural change for almost one hundred years.” Uncle Tom’s Cabin’s combination of social issues of race, gender, class, and nationhood continued to influence American culture until the end of the 19th century. Another look at reactions after the Civil War is Michelle Wallace’s article “Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Before and After Jim Crow ” published in the Spring, 2000 edition of TDR. By analyzing the continued attention and reaction to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Wallace argues that the meaning of Stowe’ novel’s titular character in American culture changed immensely during the Jim Crow Era. Uncle Tom went from a hero to a symbol of racism, Wallace uses the shifting depictions of Uncle Tom and the novel, such as the use of black face, to prove the meaning of Tom became corrupted. One event that received attention was the debate and subsequent banning of the depiction of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Kentucky, post-Civil War. In her article, Anne Marshall shows the deep seeded and long-lasting rejection of Stowe’s work, and how influential pro-confederate groups were in the postbellum American South. Marshall also touches on how policy in Southern states in this era were often hypocritical, as the same arguments used to ban Uncle Tom’s Cabin were used by local African Americans to seek the ban of the play depiction of pro-confederate novel The Clansman.[4]

Before the War

The moment Stowe’s novel was published it spread like wildfire across the nation; selling 10,000 copies in the first two weeks and by the end of its first year in publication Uncle Tom’s Cabin sold over 300,000 copies.[5] The story gripped the nation, and with the widespread appeal came a wide range of reactions, and with such different reactions came a historic amount of disagreement. The story’s depiction of slavery caused an uproar in the South, and acclaim in the North; reactionary division clearly showed the rampant sectional divide facing the country. One of the most prevalent of Southern reactions was declaring the novel a flat out lie, and Mrs. Stowe mentally unstable. In an article titled “More Anti-Slavery Fiction”, the Charleston Mercury described Uncle Tom’s Cabin as “…founded on imaginary circumstances, and gross improbabilities, and corroborated by incidents that constitute the exceptions to the actual operation of African slavery we consider them highly incendiary.”[6] The article also went on to describe the Beecher family as known liars, describing the actions of Stowe’s father Rev. Lyman Beecher in 1834 during debates over lying; at a society known as “The Inquisition”, where Rev. Beecher was the lone supporter of lying under just circumstances.[7] Another Charleston newspaper, the Charleston Courier, described Mrs. Stowe as a Munchausen; a syndrome in which a person gives themselves a mental disorder by continuously and deliberately acting as if they have a mental illness or physical illness.[8] This was meant to discredit Stowe and by extension of discrediting her, discredit Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Other articles tried to expose the novel as untrue, citing laws in Southern states that, on paper, protected slaves. One such article was from the Northern New York Observer, which took issue with the use of “Wanted Dead or Alive” posters in efforts to catch the character George Harris.[9] It citied Southern case law as saying, “a slave who is merely flying away cannot be killed,” as well as Louisiana Civil Code when discussing the actions of the character Simon Legree and his treatment of Tom.[10] Alabama Representative John Bragg, a member of Congress who attacked the book, wrote, “I have looked into the book and find it to be a gross and exaggerated caricature of the manners and institutions of the South.” Bragg even went as far as to refer to Stowe and her novel as “social hermaphrodites.”[11]

Southerners were not alone in their rejection of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a year after its publication, a novel entitled The Planter was published by David Brown, a Northerner that had once supported abolition. In his book Brown targeted an English audience and rejected the notions of slaves being mistreated and being denied the ability to become Christians. Brown described the characters of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as ones that went entirely against Southern culture. Stating that masters such as Arthur Shelby would never even contemplate the sale of a slave like Tom or deal with slave dealers such as Mr. Haley. Brown also noted laws in slave states that stop the mistreatment of enslaved people which was a common argument against Stowe’s depiction of Southern life. However, these laws existed on paper. Other laws and policies, such as slaves being prevented from testifying in cases in which a white citizen was a party, made slave mistreatment laws hard to enforce.

Others attempted to discredit Stowe’s depiction of slavery with anecdotal accounts that showed that Southern society treated slaves well. These were seen all over the South. One example came from the Little Rock newspaper True Democrat. The article told the story of a runaway slave who found slavery to be better than freedom and returned.[12] This was a consistent theme. Another story stated that a slave was sent to the goldfields of California and returned with “pockets full of gold” which was reported in two different newspapers.[13] Several articles told stories of the negative treatment of Blacks in the North or the heroic qualities of Southern Whites. For example, a story of the attempted murder of a Black girl and a story about the horrors of a ship with emigrants bound for Liberia saved from a cholera outbreak by Southern officials.[14] Another consistent theme included throughout several articles was the happiness of current slaves. One article called the slaves of Charleston “…the happiest creatures to ever walk the earth” because, the journalist explained, “the climate suits them, and they have little to do, which suits them just as well…”.[15] Another stated that slaves were part of their town’s religious customs and were therefore happy and content with their position in Southern society.[16] These scattered and improbable stories show the South’s attempt to hide the horrors of slavery. They present slavery as a moral institution that was as beneficial for the slave as it was for his or her master.

This attempt to mask the horrors of Southern slave society was seen through the many anti-Tom novels published in the years following Stowe’s book. These works tried to capture Southern views of slavery and bring them to a wider audience.[17]  They compared the claimed happiness of enslaved Blacks to the abject misery of free Blacks in the North. An example of these novels, Aunt Phillis’ Cabin, published in part in the Charleston Courier, described the book as the “antidote” to the “evil omen” that was Uncle Tom’s Cabin.[18] However, these books saw only marginal success, as Aunt Phillis’ Cabin sold just 20-30,000 copies.[19] This novel also compared the enslaved to the working class of the relatively more industrial North, which was a popular comparison made by pro-slavery thinkers like George Fitzhugh. This comparison was made to show how slavery was better for the lowest class in society than a capitalistic society. It also appeared in “Slavery in the Southern States”, where the author justifies slavery over the capitalistic free labor mentality of the North; by saying that masters have a vested interest in the wellbeing and protection of the enslaved people he owned. This is then compared to the relationship between business owners and workers, saying “for there is no obligation on him beyond the payment of wages”. [20]

Southern newspapers also attempted to discredit Stowe and her novel by attacking her as a woman and outline what they saw as the customary role of women in American society. The State Gazette & Democrat described Stowe with a long list of insults about every part of her body as a way to vilify and demine her. Thus, urging its readers to see that Stowe was nothing but a vindictive and hateful person looking to project her sorrows outward.[21] Many Southern citizens also wrote into their local papers to discuss their views of Stowe, including both men and women. Their letters were attacks on Stowe’s character and conduct as a woman in America.[22] One woman from Louisiana wrote, “I do not like this said Harriet, for she has proved herself false to her womanly mission—a stirrer up of strife, rather than a ‘peacemaker…’”[23] This reflected the social make up of American, and specifically Southern, society. Women were meant to not have an opinion and live in a subsidiary role to their husbands. The Southern Literary Messenger out of Richmond published an article titled “Women’s True Mission”, which described what many Americans thought of women’s role in society. It described women as naturally subservient and that the increasing education of women was causing them to seek an increased and equal role to their male counterparts.[24] This article attacked the novel as a method of subverting women around the world into supporting women’s rights and emancipation. This claim was seen multiple times throughout Southern newspapers. The Daily Dispatch in Richmond, Virgina and The Daily Picayune in New Orleans, Louisiana described women who had begun to take a more active roles in social causes as “babbling dames” and “scandals to their sex.” The article also described the women of the South as “hav[ing] better sense” and being “far more respected” than their Northern counterparts. [25]

Another argument that was made in reaction to Uncle Tom’s Cabin waseconomic. It took two different forms. The first discusses the money Stowe received from the sale of the novel, and her supposed refusal to donate the proceeds to the cause that motivated her.[26] The second emphasized the sheer wealth that the slave system generated for the North, specifically New England, and how abolitionists like Stowe benefited from the very system she sought to dismantle.[27] Southerners also saw Stowe’s touring England in support of her novel as an attempt to hurt the Southern economy.[28]

The underlying theme throughout all of these arguments is fear, fear of the North and the growing anti-slavery sentiment. For example, in the Charleston Courier op-ed, “we have deemed the circulation, sale and success of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a most evil omen—both as testifying to the existence and extent of the abolition sentiment in the popular mind, and as to its increase through agency.” [29] Southern newspapers had spread fear by falsely telling their readers of what had happened on British islands that emancipated their slaves. These areas were described as controlled entirely by recently freed blacks who had ruined the society for the previous white, masters and overseers.[30] Newspapers also attempted to spread fear, publishing a story of a man who attended a play similar to Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Paris and was robbed by a Black theater goer. [31]

After the War

  This revealing of deep seeded cultural tension between the North and South only became more prevalent leading to the late 1850s. Eventually, this tension would build up and erupt into Civil War during the first half of the 1860’s. One Memphis paper compared works such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin to “… a mischievous boy who sits on a shed and shakes a red flag at a mad bull” and blamed Southern succession on rogue abolitionism; the fears of abolitionists ended up driving the South to succession.[32] After the war Uncle Tom’s Cabin remained incredibly popular, as over 200,000 more copies were printed between 1870 and 1917.[33] However, despite the war and its conclusion, divided sentiments of Uncle Tom’s Cabin still largely remained between the North and South. For the South, the novel was a sore subject and was despised as a symbol of Northern war victory and the end of Southern slave society.

The denial of Stowe’s true characterization from the South remained prominent, and so did the resentment for what they saw as Northern intrusion into their society and way of life. Prior to the war, newspapers attacked Uncle Tom’s Cabin as an unrealistic and baseless interpretation of Southern life, showing little had actually changed. The biggest shift was in the form of resentment. Before the war, Southern outrage over Uncle Tom’s Cabin was mainly over its attempt to paint slavery as anything less than a perfect institution. The South feared the collapse of slavery. After the war, the resentment was over the shifts in Southern society that had occurred in the years after the novel was published. Some then saw the novel as the beginning of the end to slavery, the institution in which economics, politics, and social life had revolved around for over two hundred years. Their fears had become true and many in the South would resent this change well into the twentieth century.

Throughout the last decades of the nineteenth century, newspapers attacked the novel with many of the same arguments from before the war. Politicians again attacked the novel as an incorrect view of Southern slave society. Governor William Northen of Georgia called the work an untrue depiction of slavery and slave holders.[34] A judge in Tennessee saw the novel as the worst depiction of Southern culture and one that continued as its dominant depiction since forty years before the Civil War.[35] The judge also called Legree, who was often the most despised character prior to the war, a “stupendous caricature” and a hurtful representation that was still haunting the South since the book remained a staple of American culture.

Newspapers also continued to attack Stowe herself for decades after the war, reporting any updates on her life and restating that her characters and story were falsehoods. The Macon Telegraph reported Stowe’s declining health as an excuse to comment on the validity of her novel, calling the work one that would “furnish the ignorant ideas upon which they will base their estimates of Southern character before the war.”[36] The article also blamed Stowe’s novel for depicting the South as “evil” and that she should work to mend her standing with the people and reputation of the South.[37]

Many articles resented the novel for causing what one article called “the downfall of our property.” Others offered similar arguments to what existed before the war, namely the treatment of workers in the increasingly industrial North. [38] An article from The Atlanta Constitution claimed that the novel was really aimed at exposing what Southerners saw as the exploitative relationship between a worker and their boss, while downplaying the better relationship between slaves and their master.[39] Others saw the story as impossible due to what they saw as contradictions with Southern slave culture, such that a slave holder would never sell a slave similar too Tom.[40] This is similar to the arguments articulated in Brown’s reply to Stowe prior to the war. Many in the South saw the continued success of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as an attack on Southern society and some communities sought to ban its depiction in any form in 1871, the Selma Dollar Times called this the “problem of the hour”.[41]

Southerners also protested against attempts to stage the novel as a play. The stage version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin was one of the most popular plays in America for decades after the war. It was performed regularly throughout the South.[42] A scheduled performance of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Lexington, Kentucky in 1902, was met with protest from the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Their grievances were reminiscent of pre-war anti-Tom rhetoric, in that they believed the story was not an accurate description of Southern life.[43] The theater manager met the protest by replying “Ladies: A copy of your resolution in reference to ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ has been received. Replying to the same, I have only to say, ‘The war has been over about thirty-six years.”[44] Other Confederate sympathizers, who wanted the memory of Uncle Tom’s Cabin to fade away, along with its negative portrayal of slavery, not only protested to stop performances, but also attacked the actors who played the controversial characters. In 1881 alone, there were several incidents of audience members throwing rotten produce and eggs at actors. One journalist from Atlanta supported such attacks, calling the play a “Northern outrage”. Another paper from Alabama reported that the audience hurled rotten vegetables at the actors depicting the black characters of Stowe’s novel.[45] An Atlanta Constitution article noted that Southerners elsewhere had moved on from their hatred of Tom and the depiction of Southern society; yet the article includes that the almost all white audience cheered loudest at the beating and death of Tom, suggesting that they moved very little in their criticism.[46] Many also took exception to the promotion of a play coming to town, calling the parades in which the actors portraying the slaves re-enacted being chased by packs of hunting dogs, false depictions and harmful for the children who would be exposed to the horrors of the antebellum period.[47] Even the plays themselves were doctored to not upset the audiences and to remove what one Memphis paper “features which would be supposed to be objectionable to a Southern audience”.[48] These actions reflected a similar sentiment that was present before the war, a rejection of the themes and depictions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as attacks against the South and lies from a Northern and abolitionist propaganda campaign.

Even historians from the South added their voices to the attack on the novel. Francis Shoup, writing in The Sewanee Review in 1893 attempted to combat Uncle Tom’s Cabin with historical evidence. However, his essay quickly devolved into many of the same arguments seen elsewhere throughout the South in the late 19th century. Shoup insisted that slaves were content and happy with their bondage by claiming “they were relieved, as far as the actual necessities of life were concerned, of all anxiety and care.”[49] This, Shoup argued, was due to their receiving of clothes, food, and medical care, claiming “No class of laborers on the face of the earth were, as a class, so free from care and so moderately tasked.” [50] To further show the happiness of those in bondage, Shoup points to the use of song and dance in the limited culture that had developed within slave communities. Mistreatment of slaves was an impossibility to Shoup, citing Southern laws that protected slaves on paper, however these were limited in their effectiveness. Shoup also claimed that the limited rebellion of slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued was evidence that slavery was far from the depiction of Mrs. Stowe.[51] Works such as these further entrenched many of these arguments into the common belief of many white Southerners.  

Just as before the Civil War, many new books were published after the war to discredit, reply to, and dismantle Uncle Tom’s Cabin, often using the same arguments of their predecessors. The themes of Aunt Phyllis’s Cabin were resurrected to show slavery as a positive institution for all involved. However, the books ranged from mainly fictional dramas to firsthand accounts from people who had grown up during the late years of the antebellum South. One such book was On the Old Plantation by J. G. Clinkscales which sought to expose children to his experiences with slavery which centered around his relationship with a slave known as Essick. “Unc’ Essick” as Clinkscales called him, was the head slave on Clinkscales’ father’s plantation.[52] This slave was used as an example of how Clinkscales saw Southerners treat their slaves, trusting them and respecting them to manage their affairs. Another novel that followed a similar narrative was James Avirett’s The Old Plantation which claimed to answer Stowe’s novel with only facts.[53] Avirett used his own childhood experiences, claiming that slavery was positive for the slaves of his family’s plantation. Just as before the war, the reasoning behind this claim was that he saw them as well fed and dressed and thus were happy and content with their lives in bondage.

These anti-tom and pro-slavery narratives popped up all over the South. This led to many newspaper articles reviewing and reporting on these books. Often seeking to discredit Stowe, many articles claimed the books showed the world that slavery was never close to the horrors depicted in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Novels such as Southern Rose and Anti-Slavery Days contained very similar arguments to those in Clinkscales’ and Avirett’s narratives. The Times and News of Eufaula, Alabama termed Stowe’s depiction as “slavery at its worse” while these narratives described slavery at its best.[54] Several articles claimed that if these books were only as successful as Stowe’s novel the war and upheaval of Southern slave society could have been avoided. As predicted, these novels were written by those who directly benefitted from slavery, not those who were enslaved.

Several other works of fiction criticized Stowe’s work in order to attack the North for the treatment of the working classes within large Northern cities. Uncle Tom’s Tenement depicted Tom as someone who would beat his wife and children to illustrate that Northern society was violent and hurtful to those at its bottom. One of the most prominent of these anti-Northern narratives was The Leopard Spots by Thomas Dixon, the author of The Clansman. In this novel, Dixon used the characters from Uncle Tom’s Cabin to tell the story of Tom, now a poor white man who is victimized by black men.[55] This story was characterized in newspapers as a “convincing” sequel to Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Dixon was referred to as “brilliant.”

The magazine The Confederate Veteran, published an extensive revision of the history of Stowe’s work, mainly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In a 1929 article, Howard Meriwether Lovett described the novel as part of an abolitionist conspiracy to disrupt Southern society. He called the continued popularity of the novel a “crime against humanity” and maintained over seventy-five years later that the actions described in the book were completely false.[56] Two of the falsehoods that the Confederate Veteran took exception too was the treatment of slaves and the use of dogs in catching people who sought to escapes their bondage. The publication also reported on the dedication of a monument in Memphis that “would influence for good the present and coming generations, and prove that the people of the South who owned slaves valued and respected their good qualities as no one else ever did or will do.” He hoped that the monument would directly dispel the “falsehood” of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.[57] This publication also reported on several books that had been written to refute Stowe’s original novel, one of these books claimed that Stowe’s depiction of blacks was false due to “the absence of ‘appropriateness,’ the natural propensity to steal.”[58] This reflected the arguments seen before the war. Blacks were naturally subservient and thus were best kept in bondage. Finally, the Confederate Veteran condemned the continued use of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a schoolbook. In their eyes, this indoctrinates children to hate their ancestors.[59] The publication told stories of children reacting to the depiction of slavery seen in Stowe’s novel and rejecting it as impossible.[60] This suggested that the evils of slavery were consistently denied, and younger people were raised to believe it to be positive. New generations never saw slavery firsthand and held on to these false beliefs.


The clear similarity of the ante and postbellum reactions to Uncle Tom’s Cabin illustrates the remarkable consistency in white Southern public opinion around Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Views on slavery had shifted little in the forty years after Stowe’s novel was first published. Many white Southerners held on to the belief that slavery was a morally, politically, and economically good institution that was beneficial for all involved. The sheer amount of discussion and work done to refute Uncle Tom’s Cabin reveals how the novel tapped into the deep seeded sectional tension that existed prior to the war. The continued campaign against Stowe’s novel shows us that this tension had yet to resolve by the early twentieth century. The Civil War continued to divide the nation. The attacks on Stowe, abolitionism, and the North demonstrated a fractured nation that did not admit to the horrors of slavery and had not accepted its abolishment. Criticism against Uncle Tom’s Cabin also offers insight into Southern views on the role of women in society, racial roles, and reactions to substantial societal, economic, and political changes caused by Civil War destruction. This upheaval only increased resistance of many white Southerners against Northern attempts to depict slavery and Southern society in a negative light. The continued attacks against Stowe and her work shows that this resistance lasted well into the twentieth century. White Southern pride for slavery remained a popular emotion several generations removed from the onslaught of the Civil War.


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[1] Joanne Freeman, The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War, (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018).

[2] David Potter, The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War 1848-1861, (New York: Harper Colophon, 1976), 140.

[3] Thomas F. Gossett, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture, (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1985); David S Reynolds, Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America, (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011).

[4] Stephen A. Hirsch, “Uncle Tomitudes: The Popular Reaction to Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” Studies in the American Renaissance, (1978): 303-330, https://www.jstor.org/stable/30227451.; Robert S. Levine, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Fredrick Douglass’ Paper: An Analysis of Reception,” American Literature 64, no. 1 (March 1992): 71-93. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2927489.; Jim O’Loughlin, “Articulating Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” New Literary History 31, no. 3 (Summer 2000): 573-597. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20057620.; Michelle Wallace, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Before and After Jim Crow,” TDR 44, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 136-156. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1146824.

[5] Michael Winship, Uncle Tom’s Cabin: History of the Book in the 19th-Century United States. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/interpret/exhibits/winship/winship.html.

[6] “More Anti-Slavery Fiction,” The Mercury (Charleston, SC), August 6, 1852. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar126bt.html.

[7] “More Anti-Slavery Fiction,” The Mercury (Charleston, SC), August 6, 1852. The Mercury (Charleston, SC).

[8] “[From] New Publications,” The Charleston Courier,  March 24, 1853, http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar118gt.html.;  “Munchausen Syndrome.” webmd. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/munchausen-syndrome#1.

[9] “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” New York Observer,  October 21, 1852, http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar11at.html.

[10] “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,.” New York Observer

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[12]  “Another Case for Mrs. Stowe,” True Democrat (Little Rock, AK), January 31, 1854. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/xtf/view?docId=utc/responses/proslav/prar183b.xml&chunk.id=d391e93&toc.depth=100&toc.id=&brand=default&query=A%20case%20for%20Mrs.%20Stowe&doc.view=content#1; “A Case for Mrs. Stowe.”, The Charleston Courier,  March 5, 1853; http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/xtf/view?docId=utc/responses/proslav/prar118f.xml&chunk.id=d17422e89&toc.depth=100&toc.id=&brand=default&query=A%20case%20for%20Mrs.%20Stowe&doc.view=content#1.

[13] “A Georgia Negro for Mrs. Stowe,” The Daily Picayune, New Orleans: December 24, 1852, http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar97ct.html; “More Uncle Tom Material,” True Democrat, Little Rock, January 25, 1853, http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar183at.html.

[14] “A Case for Aunt Harriet: Electronic Edition,” The Daily Dispatch (Richmond, VA), May 3, 1853. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/xtf/view?docId=utc/responses/proslav/prar170aj.xml&chunk.id=d17674e94&toc.depth=100&toc.id=&brand=default&query=A%20case%20for%20Mrs.%20Stowe&doc.view=content#1.;

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[15] “Slaves in Charleston,” Daily Dispatch, Richmond: April 29, 1853 http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar170agt.html.

[16] “Something for Mrs. Stowe,” The Daily Picayune, New Orleans: September 8, 1853 http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar97ayt.html.

[17] “[from] The Duty of Southern Authors,” Southern Literary Messenger (Richmond, VA), October 1856, 243-44. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar24it.html.

[18] “A Reply to Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” The Charleston Courier (Charleston, SC). July 23, 1852. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar118at.html.

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[21] “Parson Brownlow’s Opinion of Harriet Beecher Stowe,” State Gazette & Democrat, Little Rock: August 5, 1853 http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar179ct.html.

[22] “letter from Western Texas,” The Daily Picayune, New Orleans: March 13, 1853 http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar97ot.html.

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[24] “Women’s True Mission,” The Southern Literary Messenger, Richmond: May 1853 http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar24ft.html.

[25] “Untitled,” The Daily Dispatch, Richmond: February 10, 1853 http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar170rt.html; “Mrs. Stowe vs the Women of America,” Daily Picayune, New Orleans: June 12, 1853 http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar97aht.html.

[26] Southern Press Review, 1852. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/reviews/rere27at.html.

[27] “ARTICLE XIV—EDITORIAL MISCELLANY,” De Bow’s Southern and Western Review (New Orleans, LA). March 1853. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prno30gt.html.

[28] D. Lee, “Plantation and Farm Economy,” Southern Cultivator, Atlanta: June 1853 http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar173at.html.

[29] “A Reply to Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” The Charleston Courier, July 23, 1852. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar118at.html.

[30] “Effects of Unconditional Negro Emancipation,” The Daily Picayune, New Orleans: June 8, 1853 http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar97agt.html.

[31] “Victims of Uncle Tom,” The Daily Picayune, New Orleans: March 20, 1853 http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar97rt.html.

[32] “Who Divided the Union?,” Memphis Daily Appeal (Memphis, TN). October 23, 1863. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar177jt.html.

[33] Michael Winship, Uncle Tom’s Cabin: History of the Book in the 19th-Century United States. Accessed April 15, 2012. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/interpret/exhibits/winship/winship.html.

[34] “Newspapers were not fair,” The Atlanta Constitution, May 25, 1899. Accessed April 20, 2020, Accessed through newspapers.com at: https://www.newspapers.com/image/26957972/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin.

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[37] “Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe,” The Macon Telegraph, Georgia: September 24, 1886.

[38] “A New Crusade,” The Atlanta Constitution, April 21, 1889, Accessed April 20, 2020, Accessed through newspapers.com at: https://www.newspapers.com/image/26884006/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin; “Ways that are Dark,” Selma Dollar Times, Alabama: November 11, 1871 Accessed April 20, 2020, Accessed through newspapers.com at: https://www.newspapers.com/image/571486381/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin.

[39] “A Voice from York State,” The Atlanta Constitution, April 3, 1897, Accessed April 20, 2020, Accessed through newspapers.com at: https://www.newspapers.com/image/26841731/?terms=%22a%2Bvoice%2Bfrom%2Byork%2Bstate%22.

[40] “Old Uncle Cy,” Knoxville Daily Tribune, April 28, 1887 1897 Accessed April 20, 2020, Accessed through newspapers.com at: https://www.newspapers.com/image/584900929/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin.

[41] “Ways that are Dark,” Selma Dollar Times, Alabama: November 11, 1871, “Public opinion,” Goldsboro Weekly Argus, North Carolina: January 10, 1895 Accessed April 20, 2020, Accessed through newspapers.com at: https://www.newspapers.com/image/571486381/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin, https://www.newspapers.com/image/335651154/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin

[42] “To-day’s Advertisements,” Nashville Banner, March 29, 1881; “Ledger Lines,” Public Ledger, Memphis: December 3, 1878; “Faranta’s Theater,” Times-Democrat, New Orleans: March 3, 1889; “Our Picayunes,” The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, September 26, 1885; “A Packed House at the People’s Theater,” The Journal and Tribune, Knoxville, Tn: July 3, 1888 Accessed April 20, 2020, Accessed through newspapers.com at: https://www.newspapers.com/image/603636758/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin, https://www.newspapers.com/image/586738806/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin, https://www.newspapers.com/image/132992469/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin, https://www.newspapers.com/image/28315705/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin, https://www.newspapers.com/image/584893837/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin

[43] “AGAINST ‘UNCLE TOM’S CABIN,” The New York Times (New York, NY). January 11, 1092. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/articles/n2ar05aat.html.

[44] “FAVORS ‘UNCLE TOM’S CABIN,” The New York Times (New York, NY). January 12, 1902. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/articles/n2ar05abt.html.

[45] “’Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ in the South,” The Livingston Journal, Alabama: July 29, 1881; “Nashville American Dem,” The Atlanta Constitution, April 20, 1881 Accessed April 20, 2020, Accessed through newspapers.com at: https://www.newspapers.com/image/307337239/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin, https://www.newspapers.com/image/26915128/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin

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[49] Francis Shoup, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin Forty Years After,” The Sewanee Review 2, No. 1 (Nov. 1893): 94, https://www.jstor.org/stable/27527795.

[50] Shoup, 94

[51] Shoup, 95

[52] J. G. Clinkscales, On the Old Plantation: Reminiscences of His Childhood, (Spartanburg, S.C.: Band & White Publishers, 1916), Foreword, https://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/clinkscales/clinksc.html.

[53] James B. Avirett, The Old Plantation: How We Lived In Great House and Cabin Before the War, (New York; Chicago: F. Tennyson Neely Co., c1901), https://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/avirett/avirett.html.

[54] “Anti-Slavery Days,” Weekly Public Ledger, Memphis: July 8, 1884; “The Southern Rose,” The Times and News, Eufaula, AL: October 22, 1891 Accessed April 20, 2020, Accessed through newspapers.com at: https://www.newspapers.com/image/586997272/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin, https://www.newspapers.com/image/349240250/?terms=Uncle%2Btoms%2Bcabin

[55] Thomas Dixon, The Leopard’s Spots. A Romance of the White Man’s Burden—1865-1900, (New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1902), https://docsouth.unc.edu/southlit/dixonleopard/leopard.html

[56] Howard Meriwether Lovett, “‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin'” The Confederate Veteran, December, 1929: 447-48. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/pres44bt.html. Through: Railton, Stephen, comp. Uncle Tom’s Cabin & American Culture. University of Virginia, 2012. Accessed April 15, 2020. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/sitemap.html.

[57] “Monument to Faithful Slaves,” The Confederate Veteran, Nashville: March 1905 http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar44it.html.

[58] Francis Pendleton Gaines, The Southern Plantation, New York: Columbia University Press, 1924): 40; “A New Book on The Negro Question,” The Confederate Veteran, Nashville: August 1914 http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar44ut.html.

[59] “‘UNCLE TOM’S CABIN’ MISLEADS,” The Confederate Veteran, March 1902. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar44et.html.

[60] “a little story connected with UTC,” The Confederate Veteran, Nashville: July 1902 http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/proslav/prar44ft.html.