When the government was formed, slave property was recognized in the Constitution, and each state was left free to do as it chose about keeping slaves. But since then ideas had been changing. The appearance of slave catchers in the North, and the publication of a novel called “Uncle Tom’s Cabin——of which many thousands of copies were sold—created a great sensation.
This novel was written by Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, while busy with her house and children. It told a great deal about slavery, made people laugh, and cry, and think, and showed so plainly what slavery might be under cruel masters that most of those who read it declared the slaves ought to be freed.