(Hope Greenberg, HST 296, Spring 1995)

Criticism of Uncle Tom's Cabin: Selected Quotes

North American Review, October 1851
: "We desire to see slavery removed, but through those methods of improvement alone, which, as it disappears, shall cause a fairer order of society to take its place." (NAR, 353)

George Sand, December 1852: "We repeat, it is a homage, and never did a generous and pure work merit one more tender and spontaneous." (Ammons, 3)

George F. Holmes, October 1852: "But where a writer of the softer sex manifests, in her productions, a shameless disregard of truth and those amenities which so peculiarly belong to her sphere of life, we hold that she has forfeited the claim to be considered a lady." (Ammons, 7)

F. C. Adams, 1853: "The book is a truthful picture of such a life, with the dark outlines strongly portrayed; the life, characteristics, grotesque incidents‹and the dialogue itself reduced to paper by an uncommon hand." (Adams, 50)

London Times review, September 1852: "Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe is an abolitionist, and her book is a vehement and unrestrained argument in favor of her creed. . .With the instinct of her sex, the clever authoress takes the shortest road to her purpose, and strikes at the convictions of her readers by assailing their hearts." (Ammons, 25)
"Would Mrs. Stowe have liberty proclaimed throughout the States at the present Moment? For her own sake, and for the sake of her countrymen, we hope not. . .The democratic horror of black blood in the United States knows no bounds." (Ammons, p. 31)

North American Review, October 1853
: "The negro is naturally the servant of the white man, because all mental inferiority is naturally the servant of mental superiority." "But the negro, though inferior to the white is still a man." "A slave is not, and cannot be, property." (NAR, 477, 476, 479)

James Baldwin, 1949
: "Uncle Tom's Cabin then, is activated by what might be called a theological terror, the terror of damnation; and the spirit that breathes in this book, hot, self-righteous, fearful, is not different. . .from that terror which activates a lynch mob." (Ammons, 94)

J. C. Furnas, 1956: "American Negroes have made her titular hero a hissing and a byword."

Thomas Graham, 1973: "While some of the attitudes and ideas expressed in her books may have tended to reinforce existing ideas of Negro inferiority, the salient argument of her writings was for the full, equal brotherhood of all men." (Ammons, 133)

Alice C. Crozier, 1969: "It is not an exaggeration to say that, since she made that confession on Lord Byron's behalf, she has not, except by a handful of critics, been taken seriously as a writer. It is time Mrs. Stowe's work was reconsidered." (Crozier, ix)

Elizabeth Ammons, 1977: "Late in the nineteenth century, Harriet Beecher Stowe announced that God wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin . The novel by then seemed too monumental even to its author to have been imagined by one woman. Earlier in her life, in contrast, Stowe had no doubt that she wrote the subversive book or that she was inspired to write it, despite marital and household irritations, precisely because she was a woman." (Ammons, 152)

E. Bruce Kirkham, 1977: "Yet the principle influence that led to Uncle Tom's Cabin was neither Scott nor Dickens. It was the force of the native tradition. . .of such writing as Susan Warner's Wide, Wide World. [Stowe] treated slavery. . .in terms of its effects on the domestic system." (Kirkham, 77)

Gayle Kimball, 1982
: "HBS' rage and sorrow at the institution of slavery was inspired in large part by her reverence for the Christian family." (Kimball, 139)

This file is part of Hope Greenberg's Graduate Portfolio for the course History 296. Created 24 March 1997.