Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Chandos Michael Brown

Committee Members

Melvin Patrick Ely

Christopher Howard


This thesis analyzes the abolitionism of Henry Ingersoll Bowditch and the factors that drove him to join this movement. Chapters one through three elucidate the context of antebellum America, Bowditch's childhood, and his early adulthood. Chapter four explores how Bowditch's education under Pierre-Charles-Alexandre Louis introduced him to the medical revolution of empiricism. This experience -- which complemented the liberal tenor of his upbringing -- cemented a pragmatic, rather than a rigid, mindset in Bowditch. Chapters 6 and 7 discuss Bowditch's role as a leader in the Committee of Vigilance, a vigilante organization dedicated to protecting fugitive slaves. Chapter 8 describes the Boston Anti-Man-Hunting League, an association founded by Bowditch that aspired to hold slave hunters ransom for the freedom of fugitive slaves. Chapter 9 serves as a conclusion to the text. It asks the reader to rethink the relationship between radicalism and pragmatism within abolition and other reform movements.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

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