John Robson’s Moments in History: “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

Is the pen really mightier than the sword? Consider Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a novel published March 20th 1852 that had the largest single impact on the unhappy story of race relations in United States history.

March 20 is also the anniversary of the 1854 founding of the Republican Party, whose rise helped trigger the Civil War a Republican administration won, ending slavery though not discrimination. But it was Harriet Beecher Stowe’s reaching the hearts and minds of Americans, especially northern women, that made the Republican party’s rise possible by arousing public opinion against legal protection of the odious “peculiar institution”.