“So. You’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this big war?” – A. Lincoln

Today in History, March 20, 1852:

“So…you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!”

President Abraham Lincoln greets Harriett Beecher Stowe at the Presidential Mansion in 1862, ten years after her novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was first published.

I am amazed at the foresight and courage displayed by this woman, a school teacher turned author.

By her own admission, in the epilogue of the book, for the first part of her life, she knew of slavery, disapproved of it, but being a Northerner, it was distant and she felt that the problem would be resolved eventually on it’s own.

How many of today’s injustices do we see the same way? Between meeting some runaway slaves, becoming familiar with the Underground Railroad, and stories from her family and friends, and finally the Compromise of 1850 (in which the government promised to return runaway slaves in exchange for new limitations on slavery expansion), she became an avid abolitionist.

She wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin to illustrate the aspects of slavery that most did not understand at that time.

As slaves, a mother’s children were often sold off, never to be seen again.

Women were sold into prostitution, to be used until their value had diminished.

If a good and kindly “master” came on hard times, he might sell a good man “down the river” to cruel and harsh masters, as “Uncle Tom” was.

With her novel, Mrs. Stowe humanized the slavery issue, brought it home to people and chastised them for not living up to their Christian values.

The novel would become the best selling novel of the 19th century and would inspire abolitionist views amongst Americans. It was certainly far from the only cause of the Civil War…but the novel played it’s part in American History.

One has to wonder if this “little woman” had any idea of the importance her words would have. If you haven’t read (or listened to) this novel, you should.ance her words would have. If you haven’t read (or listened to) this novel, you should.

Studebaker…An American Success Story

Today in History, February 16, 1852:

The five brothers, Henry, Clement, John Mohler, Peter Everst and Jacob Franklin, had been taught the skill of wagon making by their parents, who had been taught by their parents, who had arrived in America in 1736.

They began their combined business on this date in 1852, and soon they were providing fully half of the wagons used for the migration west, and a quarter of those in the nation.

They made bank during the Civil War, selling wagons to the Union Army.

Their business continued to thrive…those beautiful red 1900 model wagons pulled by the Budweiser Clydesdales…are Studebakers.

When motorized vehicles came to be, the Studebaker Company began making first electric and then gasoline cars. The company would last until 1957, having a reputation for quality and class in their cars.

Uncle Sam Finds His Stride…

 

Today in History, March 13: 1852:

The first cartoon image of Uncle Sam appears in “The New York Lantern” newspaper, drawn by cartoonist Frank Henry Bellew. Uncle Sam had been used to represent the US Government for years, becoming most popular during the War of 1812, but Bellew’s was the first cartoon to portray him. The cartoon was critical of the US government, expressing that “John Bull” (representing the British government) was helping the US shipping industry while Uncle Sam stood by and did nothing for the industry. The use of Uncle Sam became popular when Samuel Wilson, who provided meat products to the military during the War of 1812. He stamped the products with “US” for United States. However when someone asked a worker what it stood for, the reply was “Uncle Sam” (for Sam Wilson). The moniker stuck.