the rope of Abolitionism, and by the 1830’s the antislaveryrnmovement had become a messianic religious crusade. RadicalrnAbolitionist propaganda found its way not only into the literaturernand public oratory of the day, but into juvenile storybooks,rnchurch hymnals, and even almanacs.rnThe milder form of Abolitionism that existed until the latern1820’s in both North and South called for gradual emancipationrnunder conditions to be determined by those closest to therninstitution. Few men condemned the actual physical conditionsrnof slavery; instead, they criticized the institution on therngrounds of principle. In 1827, James Fenimore Cooper of NewrnYork told a French audience that “the American slave is betterrnoff, so far as mere animal wants are concerned, than the lowerrnorders of the European peasants.” Moreover, both sides m therndebate were aware of the problems inherent in the manumissionrnof several million Africans who lacked experience with selfgovernment.rnMany, if not most, early advocates of emancipationrnfavored one or another plan for the separation of the races.rnThe American Colonization Movement, for instance, proposedrnto transport out of the country those slaves freed by theirrnmasters. Until the beginning of the 1830’s, then, there was littlernovert hostility between the pro- and antislavery factions.rnBut the first issue of Garrison’s Liberator changed the nature ofrnthe slavery debate forever.rnThe Liberator gave Carrison a platform from which to stokernthe fires of sectional hatred against the South, and hernwasted no time in doing so. In the first issue of January 1,1831,rnhe declared: “I do not wish to think or speak or write with moderation.rnI will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard.”rnAnd so he was. Carrison and a vocal minority of New Englandersrnagitated unceasingly to distort and fictionalize Southernrnsociety and to make hatred of slavery synonymous with hatredrnof all who inhabited the slaveholding South. Southerners wererndescribed as “thieves and adulterers… who trample law and orderrnbeneath their feet. . . ruffians who insult, pollute, and laceraternhelpless women; and . . . conspirators against the lives andrnliberties of New England citizens.”rnLike many New Englanders who wrote about the South duringrnthe middle third of the 19th century. Garrison possessedrnvirtually no firsthand knowledge of the region. Along with HarrietrnBeecher Stowe, whose only visit had been a brief one to arnmodel plantation in Kentucky, and arch-Abolitionist WendellrnPhillips, Garrison created a simplistic and false portrait of arnSouth whose social system was much more complex than theyrnwere willing to admit. Phillips the orator exceeded Garrison therneditor in his ability to tug on the heartstrings of New Englandersrnover the slavery issue. He contended that the institutionrnwas not only evil, but that it represented a direct threat to thernpolitical and economic well-being of the North. The South’srnaristocratic Slave Power, as he called it, stood as an obstacle tornthe onward march of American democracy, and if the Northrnwas to avoid contracting this contagious disease, it must remakernthe South in its own progressive image. Unlike Garrison, whornpreached a philosophy of nonresistance, Phillips conjured forrnhis audiences “scenes of blood through which a rebellious slavernpopulation must march to their rights.” Long before Lincolnrnmade his “House Divided Against Itself” speech, WendellrnPhillips had already convinced many New Englanders that thernslave and free sections “cannot live together.”rnAnti-Southern Abolitionist vitriol also found expression inrnthe writings of some of New England’s most popular men ofrnletters: John Greenleaf Whittier, James Russell Lowell, andrnRalph Waldo Emerson, to name but three. Though none butrnEmerson had actually traveled to the South, all confidentlyrnscorned the region as a benighted cultural backwater wherernsloth and stagnation prevailed. Just how susceptible to hearsayrnand rumor these men were can be gleaned from Whittier’s ThernNarrative of James Williams. Williams, a runaway slave, told ofrnbeing “sold down the river” by his owner in Virginia to a cruelrnmaster who foreshadowed Mrs. Stowe’s Simon Legree. Whittierrnscandalized his readers with Williams’ tales of his new master’srnbarbarism, which included raping female slaves, whippingrnpregnant women until they miscarried, and shooting escapedrnfield hands in the back.rnThe work was published by Boston’s Anti-Slavery Society inrn1838 and quickly went through six editions before being withdrawnrnafter it was discovered that Whittier had not bothered tornverify the truthfulness of Williams’ fantastic tale. Nonetheless,rnWhittier’s book made its mark. Even after learning of its fabrication,rnmany Abolitionists still held that the narrative gave anrnaccurate description of slavery in the Deep South. Howard R.rnFloan’s The South m Northern Eyes, 1831-1861 (1958) tells us:rn”In considering the reception of The Narrative of ]amesrnWilliams, it is not hard to understand how, after twelve years ofrnconditioning, the American mind was well prepared for UnclernImn’s Cabin.”rnJames Russell Lowell, though largely uninterested in therngreat political questions of the day that loomed over bothrnNorth and South, was quick to assert that the preeminentrnstruggle was one between the forces of enlightened Northernrnprogressivism and Southern traditionalism. To Lowell, thernSouth was “King Retro,” stubbornly clinging to an unnaturalrnand hierarchical worldview that eventually must bring it tornruin. The region’s only salvation, he believed, was for it tornadopt the prevailing ideologies of mid-19th-century NewrnEngland, especially egalitarianism. His depiction of the typicalrnSoutherner as an idle ruffian and an ignorant hypocrite createdrnin the popular imagination, according to Floan, “a villain whornthe people of the North would soon be quite willing to meet inrnbattle.”rnRalph Waldo Emerson, before joining the ranks of the radicalrnAbolitionists in the mid-I840’s, had opposed Southernrnslaveholders on principle, but did not sensationalize the allegedrncruelty of master to slave as did Whittier and Lowell. Emersonrnwrote in the late 1820’s: “For it is true that many a slave underrnthe warm roof of a humane master, with easy labours and regularrnsubsistence enjoys more happiness than his naked brethrenrnin Africa.” He also expressed a grudging admiration for thernmasculine hghting qualities of Southern men, and feared theyrnwould outmatch Yankees in the contest of politics. “ThernSoutherner,” he noted, “always beats us in politics…. [He] hasrnpersonality, has temperament, has manners, persuasion, address,rnand terror. The cold Yankee . . . has not fire or firmness.”rnEmerson’s view was representative of a growing Northern resentmentrnof the South’s strength in national affairs.rnOnce Emerson joined the Abolitionists, he radically alteredrnhis view of the South. Most of his literary venom he saved forrnSouth Carolina, comparing it to contemporary Algiers. “Wernmust go there,” he fretted, “in disguise, and with pistols in ourrnpockets, leaving our pocketbooks at home, making our wills beforernwe go.” South Carolina’s chief rascal was, of course, thernNullificr Calhoun, whose voice, Emerson claimed, spoke forrnthe state.rnJANUARY 1997/19rnrnrn