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Henry Ward Beecher

Henry Ward Beecher, the theatrical Congregationalist pastor of Brooklyn's Plymouth Church and a powerful antislavery orator (and the brother of Hamet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin), has been criticized by modern historians for convincing a wide national audience that abolition should be achieved gradually through the Christianization of African-American slaves, Despite his avoidance of radical abolitionist measures, his oratory nevertheless remained a powerful wartime force. He offered the following indictment of the complicity of New Yorkers in the practice of slavery: "We clothe ourselves with the cotton which the slave tills . . . It is you and I that wear the shirt and consume the luxury. Our looms and our factories are largely built on the slave's bones. We live on his labor."


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