Evangelical Protestants led the American Abolitionists; they fought to end slavery. Abolitionists believed slavery was a national sin, and it was a moral obligation of all Americans to free the slaves and return them to Africa. Not all Americans agreed. Views on slavery varied from state to state and among family members and the neighbors.
Many Northerners and Southerners did not support Abolition goals as they thought anti-slavery activism would create economic instability and threatened the racial social order. By mid-nineteenth century, there was a clear contradiction between a national defense of slavery on American soil and the universal freedoms espoused in the Declaration of Independence which created discord in the national culture.
During the years leading up to the Civil War, Abolitionists became more radical calling for the end of slavery. Public opinion varied widely, and different branches of the movement disagreed on how to achieve their goals. The Abolitionists on the other hand found enough strength in their commonalities- a belief in individual liberty and a strong Protestant evangelical faith- to move their agenda forward.
Source: Abolitionism in America
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