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Africa stretches forth her hands unto you female colonizationization supporters in the antebellum United States /

by Younger, Karen Virginia

Abstract (Summary)
The American Colonization Society (ACS), founded in 1818, initially gave little thought as to how women might contribute to the cause. Despite its posture as a religious and benevolent organization, the colonization society promoted itself as a political movement. So intent on securing federal funding, the society made only weak attempts to build local organizations and no appeals to women. However, in the early 1830s, while the ACS was in tremendous turmoil struggling to maintain its centrality in the nation’s political imagination, the movement recast itself as a benevolent organization and privileged volunteerism over politics. Leaders continued to recognize the importance of political activities but they also encouraged female participation even as they promoted the centrality of female values in the movement. For a brief but intense period in the 1830s and 1840s, the ACS came to rely on all types of female support. Women who joined colonization societies perceived their efforts to be part of the triumph of American, white evangelical Protestantism in the world and viewed colonization as an ideological middle ground between immediate abolition of slavery and perpetual bondage. These women were committed to ridding the United States of both slavery and African Americans. Female colonizationists believed that the United States was a specially blessed place and saw their own sex as exceptionally privileged. This status encouraged their willingness to act as the conscience of the nation in all places judged morally inferior. Just as benevolent women might extend their concern to the poor, the widow, and the orphan in America, so too, might women legitimately engage in moral and religious reform in locations outside America. On the one hand, female support for colonization reflected an extension of woman’s natural role as moral guide and guardian. At the same time, however, their actions brimmed with social, political and personal consequences. iii
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School:Pennsylvania State University

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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