American Civil War Literature 2

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American Civil War Literature – Slavery Essay, Research Paper Many economic and political factors lie behind the cause of the American Civil War. Among such causes, the issue of slavery is raised repeatedly. Many men and women sacrificed all that they had in opposition to the evils of slavery. Through these hardships comes the inspiration for such an epic of American literature as Uncle Tom?s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Her novel, a stirring indictment of slavery, truly captures the scathing realities of life in the south for a black slave. As well, the true story of Harriet Tubman, outlined in a stunning biography by Sarah Bradford ? Harriet Tubman: The Moses of Her People ? is a story of an individual?s battle against the atrocities placed upon them by the issues

surrounding slavery. Both novels introduce key characters that possess virtuous qualities despite the many limitations they face, becoming true heroes in the heart of the American Civil War. Harriet Tubman, born into a slave family, immediately falls victim to the discrimination and limitations that such a position in society provides. Harriet behaves in the very conventional ways one would expect from a slave. She appears to others as an uneducated, ignorant black woman and therefore worthless in the eyes of the ?superior? white race. To add to her troubles, Harriet receives a severe head injury that only further prohibits her ability to think intelligently. This injury also becomes the cause of random sleeping spells that prove to be dangerous, whether working under an overseer

or trekking through the woods to Canada. Most would not anticipate a woman faced with such hardships, could amount to anything. Harriet Tubman, nonetheless, overcomes all obstacles to become a national hero for her fellow black slaves, as well as to a divided country: In my opinion there are few captains, perhaps few colonels, who have done more for the loyal cause since the war began, and few men who did before that time more for the colored race, than our fearless most sagacious friend, Harriet (134). The life of Harriet Tubman is a true story, offering a piece of inspiration to all of humanity. Rising above the confinements of her southern home on a cotton plantation, Harriet flees to unknown territories in the hopes of preserving her human dignity. This in itself is an

extremely intrepid challenge. Tubman, however, continually returns to the south (a total of nineteen times), bringing back to Canada approximately 300 slaves. Once she was free, she did not have to return. The fact remains, however, she could not bear the thought of others living in such conditions. As a result, Tubman exceeds all boundaries of courage, becoming a role model to the southern black community and a hero to the abolitionist movement. Uncle Tom?s Cabin is a remarkable tale of how one individual overcame the many stereotypes that black slaves are faced with, becoming a role model to all those around him. Uncle Tom is a placid, docile man, who although has limited opportunity, strives to gain knowledge and intelligence. He wants it to be clear to everyone that he is not

a dirty slave. Many would continue to see him as merely a slave, not allowing him to have any equal opportunities in which he deserves. Despite this, Uncle Tome proves that he too can be dignified and respected. In doing so Uncle Tom becomes the ideal of a brave man to any black slave. Uncle Tom first displays his heroic nature by protecting what he cherished the most ? his family and friends. By diligently working and proving himself a faithful slave, Mr. Shelby promises him his freedom. Unfortunately, Mr. Shelby comes across financial troubles and is forced to sell Uncle Tom as one of his most valuable assets. Uncle Tom, by this point, has a wife and children. To learn that he is to be separated from them would destroy most people. Even as he faces the opportunity of fleeing to