The abolitionist movement developed slowly in the early 1800s. The earliest opponents to slavery were considered far outside the mainstream of political thought, but by the 1840s and 1850s the abolitionist movement had a strong and very committed following.
Prominent abolitionists included:
- William Lloyd Garrison
- Frederick Douglass
- Angelina Grimké and her sister Sarah Grimké
- Wendell Phillips
- John Brown
- Harriet Tubman
- Harriet Beecher Stowe
The term comes from the word abolish, and particularly refers to those who wanted to abolish slavery.
The Underground Railroad, the loose network of people who assisted escaped slaves to freedom in the northern United States or Canada, could be considered part of the abolitionist movement.