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"Am I Not a Man and a Brother?", 1787 medallion designed by Josiah Wedgwood for the British anti-slavery campaign

Abolitionism is a political movement that seeks to abolish the practice of slavery and the worldwide slave trade.


  • Abolitionism proposes to destroy the right and extinguish the principle of self-government for which our forefathers waged a seven years' bloody war, and upon which our whole system of free government is founded.
    • Stephen Douglas Speech in the US Senate (3 March 1854); Quoted in: James Washington Sheahan (1860) The life of Stephen A. Douglas. p. 258.
  • The Abolitionst... must see that he has neither the right or power of operating except by moral means and suasion.
    • Robert E. Lee Speech in the Senate (3 March 1854); Quoted in: Douglas Southall Freeman (2008) Lee, p. 93.
  • The delegates of the annual conference are decidedly opposed to modern Abolitionism, and wholly disclaim any right, wish, or intention to interfere in the civil and political relation between master and slave as it exists in the slave states of the union.
    • Methodist Episcopal Church. General Conference, Ohio Anti-slavery Society, Debate on "modern abolitionism": in the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, held in Cincinnati, May, 1836. p. 5
    • Methodist Episcopal Church: General Conference, Cincinnati, May, 1836 After they had driven out most of the Abolitionists. Not long after the Church split over slavery.
  • In returning I read a very different book, published by an honest Quaker, on that execrable sum of all villanies, commonly called the Slave-trade.
    • John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church. Quoted in: John Wesley, ‎John Emory (1835) The Works of the Reverend John Wesley, A. M. p. 366.

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