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American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses

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American Slavery as It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses is a book written by the American abolitionist Theodore Dwight Weld, his wife Angelina Grimké, and her sister Sarah Grimké, which was published in 1839.A key figure in the abolitionist movement, Weld was a white New Englander. His wife, Angelina, and sister-in-law Sarah, were from a Southern slave-owning family; both women were active in the abolitionist and women's suffrage movements. Together they composed this book using many first-hand accounts of slavery and its horrors. The work focuses on the afflictions that slaves faced, covering their diet, clothing, housing, and working conditions. The authors also discussed and refuted several pro-slavery arguments. American Slavery as It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses was distributed by the American Anti-Slavery Society, and was very influential in the formative days of the abolitionist movement. Harriet Beecher Stowe used American Slavery as It Is as the direct inspiration for her novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, which also became very influential in the movement to end slavery. Stowe went so far as to reportedly sleep with the book "under her pillow at night." Within the first year of publication, the book had sold 100,000 copies; it served as a vital combination of testimony from those affected by slavery and advertisements published by slavers themselves. This method proved effective at gaining support for abolitionism, since slave-owners could not dispute their own words no matter how poorly it reflected on their character. Other works inspired in part by American Slavery as It Is included William Goodell's The American Slave Code in Theory and Practice, and Charles Dickens' American Notes quotes whole ads from Weld and the Grimké sister's book. Frederick Douglass quoted from the book when giving speeches, and said that "not a single fact or statement recorded therein has ever been called in question by a single slave holder."
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original title: American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses
date of publication: 1839
main subject: slavery in the United States

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