Abolitionists petition Congress
Starting in the 1830s a small but growing movement advocated the abolition of slavery in the United States. After 1850 abolition’s appeal spread to those who feared slavery’s expansion into the territories. Abolitionists collected hundreds of thousands of signatures on petitions to Congress, like this one from citizens of New York. As abolitionist agitation increased, Southern whites became increasingly outspoken in their defense of slavery.
National Archives, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives