Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Carol Sheriff

Committee Members

John Baltes

Scott Nelson Reynolds


In 1831 journalist William Lloyd Garrison established The Liberator, a newspaper that advocated for immediate abolition of slavery. Despite its small circulation, the newspaper published notoriously controversial positions and featured a masthead depicting a gruesome slave auction, infuriating proslavery Southerners. By contrast, in 1832 Thomas Roderick Dew, president of The College of William and Mary, published his Review of the Debates in the Virginia Legislature of 1831 and 1832, in which he articulated a proslavery ideology that would resonate with Southerners. Dew opined that slaves benefitted from servitude, as did their masters. His position represented a shift from earlier Southern thinkers who treated slavery as a necessary evil. While most Americans hovered between Garrison and Dew ideologically, the two men represented magnetic poles that attracted large numbers of adherents. Following Garrison's rhetoric of the 1830s, many Northerners subscribed to a "free-labor" ideology, which demanded "free soil, free labor, free men." For these Northerners, slavery could not coexist alongside free laborers, and they began to agitate for its gradual end by banning the institution from the new Western territories. Meanwhile, Southerners dug in their heels and demanded that slavery extend to these territories. Citizens of both the North and South felt their way of life threatened, exacerbating sectional differences. Consciously or not, Northern teachers and reformers felt the pull of free-labor's cause, and their efforts in the classroom or statehouse betray an implicit allegiance with anti-southern mentality. In this essay, I will show how the changing paradigms of education in New England contributed to and intertwined with its rising sectional ideology.

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.

On-Campus Access Only