Human beings are inherently conservative, tending to resist change until change becomes unavoidable. This habit has survival benefits, as too rapid a change can be dangerous.This is why most social reformers were ignored by most Americans in the early decades of the 19th century. But in 1861, change became unavoidable.
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Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier is today best known for his bucolic poetry, such as "Snowbound," but he was also active in the abolition movement as an author and editor. He fell out with William Lloyd Garrison over tactics, favoring gradual political action rather than Garrison's radicalism, but he remained faithful to his ideals even after retiring from active abolitionism. Read more