Harriet Beecher Stowe became one of the most famous writers, reformers, and abolitionist women of the 1800’s in large part due to her best selling fictional book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe became most recognized for Uncle Tom’s Cabin, written in 1852, which aroused considerable anti-slavery feelings before the Civil War began. In her writings about the evils of slavery, Harriet used her knowledge of the abolitionist movement and her vivid imagination, stirring many emotions and controversy on a nationwide level. As an avid writer, Harriet also contributed to periodicals and local publications in addition to her poetry, children’s books, and novels. She lived much of her life near slaves and did not believe in the institution of slavery; hence, inspiring her to become a voice for anti-slavery both in her writings and personal values and beliefs. She was born, Harriet Elizabeth Beecher, the seventh child born to Lyman and Roxana Beecher on June 14, 1811 in Litchfield, Connecticut. Harriet was one of thirteenth children; her two sisters, Esabella and Catherine were from Mr. Lyman’s first marriage. There were seven brothers and they all became ministers and reformers, just like their father.
Reverend Lyman was a well-known Congregational Revivalist, and persuasive speaker. Harriet and her siblings were raised with strong moral principals and strict religious beliefs, which stayed with them all throughout their lives. In 1816, Harriet suffered a great loss at the very young age of five. Her mother, Roxana, died of tuberculosis. We Can Write Custom Research Papers on Harriet Beecher Stowe for You! From that point on in her life, Harriet became very attached to her eldest sister, Catherine. Although Reverend Lyman remarried, Harriet never created much of a bond with his second wife. Harriet, after attending Litchfield Academy, was sent to Hartford Female Seminary, which was founded by her sister, Catherine. Catherine, who became respected for her teaching methods, was like a mother to Harriet and became one of her greatest influencers and mentors throughout her life and writing career. Two other very prominent relatives in Harriet’s life were her Uncle Samuel and Aunt Harriet Foote.
Not only did her aunt and uncle influence her culturally, they also encouraged her to write as they had witnessed hr gift for writing early on. In 1832, Harriet’s father was invited to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was to become the president of Lane Theological seminary. Harriet, along with her sister Catherine, made the move to Cincinnati with him. Harriet was influenced to make this move with her father by her sister, Catherine and their Uncle Samuel and Aunt Harriet Foote. They knew that if she followed her father and sister, she would continue to be inspired to pursue her writing talent. Shortly after their move, Catherine and Harriet established a school together, The Western Female Institute, in which Harriet became one of the teachers. The move for Harriet was an eye-opening experience, where she witnessed for the first time, the brutality of slavery and cruelty of slave auctions. Harriet’s first account of this cruelty was when she observed a black family being separated and sold-off one by one.
This outraged, saddened, and frustrated her, but she had not decided to write about it at that time. In 1834, Stowe began her literary career. She entered a prize contest writing a children’s geography book with her sister Catherine. Soon after she began contributing to the magazine, The Western Monthly, which featured many of her stories and essays. Her first book, The Mayflower, a short fictional story written in 1843, was also known as, Sketches of Scenes and Characters of the Descendants of the Pilgrims. Her most famous novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, written in 1852, was inspired by a vision Harriet had at church one day. When the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 passed, Harriet was furious and extremely disturbed, and wrote to one of her sisters expressing her frustration. Her sister wrote back saying, Hattie, if I could use a pen as you can, I would write something that would make this whole nation feel what an accursed thing slavery is. Harriet did just that, thus the birth of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. And behold the tears of such as are oppressed; and on the side of their oppressors there was power.
Whereof I, praised, the dead that are already dead more than the living that are yet alive. The response to Uncle Tom’s Cabin was mixed, regionally, and consequently Harriet felt the need to further educate and inform people. As a result, she wrote a follow-up novel in defense of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, to critics who argued it was inauthentic. This novel written in 1853 was titled A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. From 1856 – 1878, Harriet published numerous novels, studies of social life essays, and small volume religious poems. She also wrote several shorter works, some of which were published in the Atlantic Monthly and Christian Union. Most of those writings were focused on the New England community way of life. Several of her older novels, such as Old Town Folks (1869) and Poganuc People (1878), was partly based on her husband’s childhood reminisces. Eliza made her desperate retrest across the river just in the dusk of twilight. The gray mist of the evening, rising slowly from the river, enveloped her as she disappeared up the bank, and the swollen current and floundering masses of ice presented a hopeless barrier between her and her pursuer.