from Chapter VI [Uncle Tom's Cabin and Woman's Rights]
THERE were several reasons for the early, and more general agitation of Woman's Rights in Ohio at this period, than in other States. Being separated from the slave border by her river only, Ohio had long been the promised land of fugitives, and the battle-ground for many recaptured victims, involving much litigation.
Most stringent laws had been passed, called "the black laws of Ohio," to prevent these escapes through her territory. Hence, this State was the ground for some of the most heated anti-slavery discussions, not only in the Legislature, but in frequent conventions. Garrison and his followers, year after year, had overrun the "Western Reserve," covering the north-eastern part of the State, carrying the gospel of freedom to every hamlet.
A radical paper, called The Anti-Slavery Bugle, edited by Oliver Johnson, was published in Salem. It took strong ground in favor of equal rights for woman, and the editor did all in his power to sustain the conventions, and encourage the new movement.
Again, Abby Kelly's eloquent voice had been heard all through this State, denouncing "the black laws of Ohio, appealing to the ready sympathies of woman for the suffering of the black mothers, wives, and daughters of the South. This grand woman, equally familiar with the tricks of priests and politicians, the action of Synods, General Assemblies, State Legislatures, and Congresses, who could maintain an argument with any man on the slavery question, had immense influence, not only in the anti-slavery conflict, but in her words and example she inspired woman with new self-respect.
These anti-slavery conventions, in which the most logical reasoners, and the most eloquent, impassioned orators the world
ever produced, kept their audiences wrought up to the highest pitch of en-
thusiasm hour after hour, were the school in which woman's rights found its ready-made disciples. With such women as Frances D. Gage, Hannah Tracy Cutler, Josephine S. Griffling, J. Elizabeth Jones, Mariana Johnson, Emily Robinson, Maria Giddings, Betsey Cowles, Caroline M. Severance, Martha J. Tilden, Rebecca A. S. Janney, to listen to the exhaustive arguments on human rights, verily the seed fell on good ground, and the same justice, that in glowing periods was claimed for the black man, they now claimed for themselves, and compelled the law-makers of this State to give some consideration to the wrongs of woman.
Again, in 1850, Ohio held a Constitutional Convention, and these women, thoroughly awake to their rights, naturally thought, that if the fundamental laws of the State were to be revised and amended, it was a fitting time for them to ask to be recognized.
In 1851, Harriet Beecher Stowe commenced the publication of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in the National Era, in Washington, D.C., which made Ohio, with its great river, classic soil, and quickened the pulsations of every woman's heart in the nation.