Episode 3: Slavery and Abolition in Antebellum America with Manisha Sinha

It has been claimed that the Age of Jackson, the age in which democracy supposedly expanded to greater heights, is really the age of slavery and white supremacy. White racism in the early 19th century reached new depths and, with the presidency of Andrew Jackson, found new ways to manifest itself. By the time Jackson reached the White House, the United States’ enslaved population had reached nearly 2 million.

But slavery alone did not define this period, as anti-slavery forces formed and mobilized in bold new ways as well. This era coincided with the formation of state and national anti-slavery societies, the publication of William Lloyd Garrison’s Liberator, large-scale slave uprisings, and the expansion of abolitionist efforts to awaken the nation’s moral conscience. But beyond these means and movements, slaves in their every day lives continued to resist and rebel, demanding their freedom and their equal place in American society.

Sinha-Manisha-imageManisha Sinha joins me to help examine these complex issues and unpack this rich period.

5132-IbqVIL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Dr. Manisha Sinha is the James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University where her dissertation was nominated for the Bancroft Prize. Her most recent book, The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition (Yale University Press, 2016) has won numerous awards, including the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, Best Book Prize by the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, the James A. Rawley Award for the Best Book on Secession and the Sectional Crisis, and the Avery O. Craven Award from the Organization of American Historians. The Slave’s Cause is also available on Audible as an audiobook.


  1. The discussion of William Lloyd Garrison is right on point; he was a strident abolitionist at a time when that cause had miniscule pubkixbaupport to any degree.

  2. Fabulous interview with one of our leading scholars today! When Prof Sinha speaks she has the amazing ability to consciously sum up eras that usually require hours of explanation, THEN, she brings the past into current context. I have heard her do this several times and love her for this. “Lessons we can draw from that even in the most dismal of circumstances..it is important for ordinary citizens to be activists..to speak up for what they believe is right. That is how radical, social movements are made. They’re not made by some leaders or from people on high, but really they are made by democratic organization of ordinary citizens.” Thank you, Dr. Sinha!!!

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