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(1838) Sara T. Smith, “Loosening the Bonds of Prejudice”

On May 17, 1838, abolitionist Sara T. Smith addresses the second Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women which was originally scheduled to be held in Pennsylvania Hall.  The meeting however was moved when anti-abolitionist mobs, upon learning of the Convention, burned the hall to the ground.  The convention was moved to a large private home where Smith gave the address which appears below.


In that love for our cause which knows not the fear of man, we address you, in confidence that our motives will be understood and regarded ....

We are told that it is not within the province of woman, to discuss the subject of slavery; that it is a political question, and we are stepping out of our sphere, when we take part in its discussion. It is not true that it is merely a political question, it is likewise a question of justice, of humanity, of morality, of religion; a question which, while it involves considerations of immense importance to the welfare and prosperity of our country, enters deeply into the home-concerns, the every-day feelings of millions of our fellow beings. Whether the laborer shall receive the reward of his labor, or be driven daily to unrequited toil-whether he shall walk erect in the dignity of conscious manhood, or be reckoned among the beasts which perish-whether his bones and sinews shall be his own, or anothers-whether his child shall receive the protection of its natural guardian, or be ranked among the live-stock of the estate, to be disposed of as the caprice or interest of the master may dictate-whether the sun of knowledge shall irradiate the hut of the peasant, or the murky cloud of ignorance brood darkly over it-whether every one shall have liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, or man assume the prerogative of Jehovah, and impiously seek to plant himself upon the throne of the Almighty; these considerations are all involved in the question of liberty or slavery.

And is a subject comprehending interests of such magnitude, merely

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