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Extreme Abolition

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Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." What Gandhi meant by this quote was that if you do not like the current situation or are unhappy with it, then take it into your own hands and change it. Many historical events can be supported with this quotation. Back in the eighteenth century, the colonists were not satisfied of their treatment as citizens under the British crown. In turn, they did not just sit around and wait for England to set them free; they fought for their independence. The same can be said about any nation or group wanting independence. They know that sitting back and waiting for something to happen is not going to get them anywhere. Sometimes fighting for what you believe in is the only way to accomplish things. Fighting for specific causes was very prevalent in the nineteeth century, with the issue of slavery at the center. Abolition was a belief that some strongly believed in. There were abolitionists like Frederick Douglass who preached abolition in a nonviolent manner. On the other end of the spectrum there were abolitionists such as Nat Turner who took his abolitionist beliefs and expressed them violently. In 1831, Nat Turner led a violent slave rebellion, killing over 60 people, including many women and children. Although violent acts in response to slavery were criticized, it can be said that without these acts, the issue of slavery would never be resolved. Of course, that is not to say that abolitionists like Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison were not effective in the abolitionist movement, because they most definitely were. It is just that those like Nat Turner drew more attention because they took more of a physical and offensive position in the tricky game of slavery against the South. At the time, violent acts of abolition probably seemed to be doing more harm than good, but having a hindsight view today allows us to see that these extreme abolitionists did more good than harm by taking



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