Stowe's daughter Hattie reported, "It was a very droll time that we had at the White House I assure you... I will only say now that it was all very funny—and we were ready to explode with laughter all the while." Stowe's own letter to her husband is equally ambiguous: "I had a real funny interview with the President."
Regardless of whether or not Lincoln made that remark, it's a fascinating piece of folklore. Harriett Beecher Stowe probably never realized the impact Uncle Tom's Cabin would have on the United States. On March 9, 1850, Stowe wrote to the editor of a weekly antislavery journal called National Era. She explained that she planned on writing a story about the problem of slavery.
In her letter she said: "I feel now that the time is come when even a woman or a child who can speak a word for freedom and humanity is bound to speak... I hope every woman who can write will not be silent."
In June of 1851, National Era published the first installment of Uncle Tom's Cabin. The Installments were published weekly from June 5, 1851, to April 1, 1852. In March of 1852, the story was published in book form with an initial print run of 5,000 copies. In less than a year, the book sold three hundred thousand copies!
Stowe's work presented an emotional portrayal of slavery that caught the nation's attention. At a volatile time in history, Uncle Tom's Cabin added to the heated debate about abolition and slavery, arousing opposition to it in the South. Her story inspired and impacted many.
Have you ever read Uncle Tom's Cabin? In my new release Escape (yes, it's time for a little shameless self-promotion), my protagonist, Daniel Taylor, is an abolitionist inspired by Uncle Tom's Cabin. What story or person has inspired you lately?
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