Northern Labor and Antislavery: A Documentary History

Philip S. Foner (Editor) Herbert Shapiro (Editor)


Using documents drawn from newspapers, magazines, and books, this volume provides a documentary history of the relationships between labor and abolitionists from the early 1830s to the Civil War. It includes newspaper articles from mainstream dailies as well as from abolitionist journals and the labor press. The voices heard from include prominent abolitionist leaders, grass roots activists, representatives of the labor movement, land reformers, and utopian advocates of universal reform. The book shows labor's response to such critical episodes as the 1831 Nat Turner Revolt, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, John Brown's execution, and the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Themes covered include the contrast between wage labor and chattel slavery, the abolitionists' outreach to white labor, the views of reformers who held that a universal solution to the labor question took priority over abolition, the varying responses of labor activists to the slavery question, and labor's growing role in the 1850s as a constituent in an antislavery coalition. At the same time, the book notes the continued presence of racism and specific instances of friction between white and black workers, as in the explosive violence of the 1863 New York City Draft Riot.

Product Details

Publish Date
March 14, 1994
6.56 X 1.12 X 9.6 inches | 1.47 pounds

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About the Author

PHILIP S. FONER is Professor Emeritus of History at Lincoln University. He is the author of many books, including The History of Black Americans (3 vols., Greenwood, 1975, 1983, 1983) and (with David Roediger) Our Own Time: A History of American Labor and the Working Day (Greenwood, 1988). More recently, he compiled (with Daniel Rosenberg) Racism, Dissent, and Asian Americans from 1850 to the Present: A Documentary History (Greenwood, 1993).

HERBERT SHAPIRO is Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati. He is author of White Violence and Black Response: From Reconstruction to Montgomery (1988) and has edited or co-edited several books, including American Communism and Black Americans: A Documentary History, 1930-1934 (1991) and Culture, Gender, Race, and U.S. Labor History (1993).