American Experience: Season 24, Episode 9

The Abolitionists: Part 1 (2012)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Documentary, History
7.9
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 60 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 3 critic

The stories of the major figures of the pre-American Civil War political movement to eliminate slavery.

Director:

Writers:

, (concept developed by)
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $1.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Family Entertainment Guide

Check out IMDb's comprehensive Family Entertainment Guide for recommendations for movies and TV series for every age and every viewing platform.

Visit our Family Entertainment Guide

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 35 titles
created 06 Sep 2011
 
a list of 1134 titles
created 29 Oct 2011
 
list image
a list of 120 titles
created 01 Jul 2012
 
a list of 7019 titles
created 01 Apr 2013
 
a list of 69 titles
created 06 Jan 2014
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Abolitionists: Part 1 (2012)

The Abolitionists: Part 1 (2012) on IMDb 7.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of American Experience.
« Previous Episode | 288 of 318 Episodes | Next Episode »
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »

Videos

1 video »
Edit

Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
Narrator (voice)
...
John Brown
Carol Berkin ...
Herself, historian
Lois Brown ...
Herself, historian
Manisha Sinha ...
Herself, historian
David Blight ...
Himself, historian
James Brewer Stewart ...
Himself, historian
Julie Roy Jeffrey ...
Herself, historian
W. Caleb McDaniel ...
Himself, historian
John Stauffer ...
Himself, historian
Erica Armstrong Dunbar ...
Herself, historian
R. Blakeslee Gilpin ...
Himself, historian
...
...
William Lloyd Garrison
...
Edit

Storyline

Shared beliefs about slavery bring together Angelina Grimké, the daughter of a Charleston plantation family, who moves north and becomes a public speaker against slavery; Frederick Douglass, a young slave who becomes hopeful when he hears about the abolitionists; William Lloyd Garrison, who founds the newspaper The Liberator, a powerful voice for the movement; Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose first trip to the South changes her life and her writing; and John Brown, who devotes his life to the cause. The abolitionist movement, however, is in disarray and increasing violence raises doubts about the efficacy of its pacifist tactics. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-PG
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2012 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Pecular Institution.
22 August 2015 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

One of the most prominent of the early anti-abolitionists was Boston editor William Lloyd Garrison who, in the 1820s, recruited a runaway slave, Frederick Douglass, as a representative of the movement. Douglass was a compelling speaker and his audiences throughout the North knew little about the conditions in the South, whereas Douglass could speak about them first hand.

The increasing strength of the abolitionist movement was a direct threat to the economy of the South, which was primarily dependent on the labor-intensive cotton industry. The program claims that the wealthier plantation owners were the richest society on earth at the time. I don't know about that, but they were pretty well off. The slaves were divided into those who worked as servants and handmaidens in the Big House and those who worked in the fields. None of them was well off. They could be whipped, raped, and sold at will.

John Brown organized a paramilitary group designed to translate the sentiments of the well-meaning do-gooders up North into action. He intended to bring about a slave revolt in the South, and he began by taking over the federal armory in Maryland. It failed and he was hanged.

Perhaps of greater importance at about the same time, 1859, a slave owner took one of his slaves, Dredd Scott, to Wisconsin, where slavery was illegal. Scott sued for his freedom and the case wound up before the Supreme Court. Here's how Wikipedia describes the decision: " The Taney Court ruled that persons of African descent could not be, nor were ever intended to be, citizens under the U.S. Constitution, and thus the plaintiff (Scott) was without legal standing to file a suit. The framers of the Constitution, Taney famously wrote, believed that blacks "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it." In other words, the decision not only denied Scott his freedom but virtually declared slavery legal everywhere in the United States. Pretty radical stuff and a retrograde move if there ever was one. Recent arguments about "judicial activism" pale.

The anti-slavery movement was growing, but not as fast as the negative reaction to it. In Washington, South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks took a gold-headed can to anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner, beat him to the floor, beat him until he was unconscious, then continued beating him. Sumner never fully recovered. Brooks was celebrated in the South and received many canes as gifts.

It's a well-done program from an exceptional series. There are some reenactments -- Richard Brooks of "Law&Order" is Frederick Douglass and is almost unrecognizable with a full head of hair -- and still photographs and talking experts. I couldn't detect any bias. It surprises me how little thought most of us give to slavery and its consequences, not just in the 19th century but today. It all seems far removed from our consciousness, as if it were nothing more than a word representing a problem in our collective past, now satisfactorily dealt with. For instance, it never occurred to me, growing up in New Jersey, that in a state just across the Delaware River, Delaware, people had once owned slaves. Hurray for PBS, bringing enlightenment to the darker niches of our memories.


0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
When will we see a film about that remarkable hero, Ida B Wells? Swing-lo
This years intro... ag-wktn
When are they going to make a movie on this? bette1981
The Satellite Sky craviola880
JFK powersroc
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE - THE QUIZ SHOW SCANDAL rob1961
Discuss The Abolitionists: Part 1 (2012) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?