The Lane Theological Seminary debates which transpired in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1834, occurred because the students wanted to protest the idea of abolition versus colonization. These debates are often overlooked or disregarded in the history of abolition in the United States. My Independent Study, a part of which is this website, aims to shed light on this historic event in a way that has not been done before. I focused on the time surrounding the debates and those involved in it because of the lack of comprehensive information on it in the historiography of American abolitionism.
My Senior Independent Study is this website, A Cause for Freedom, featuring original documents written by those who were at Lane Seminary during the time of the debates and resulting rebellion. The process of creating A Cause for Freedom has taken many steps. I had to use microfilm provided by the Presbyterian Historical Society to scan all of the Lane Seminary documents, and label and categorize each page. This process took over a month to complete. I did not include every single document in the Lane Theological Seminary Records to be on this site. I chose specific documents based on the author, date, and if the document was about the Lane debates and rebels. While photo shopping the documents, and filling out the Dublin Core metadata on this site, I transcribed the documents with the help of my mom, who was able to read the 19th century handwriting better than I could. Along with my written historiography, I also crafted Collections and Exhibits for this website.
A Cause for Freedom is composed with information from many primary sources that originated in the 19th century as well as a handful of secondary scholarly sources. Many of the secondary sources come from biographies of those who were involved with the seminary. This website explores the lives of educated men in the 19th century, and the specific event of the Lane Theological Seminary debates. Without these debates, many men would not have been able to spread their abolitionist influences across the United States.
To properly explore this website chronologically, please begin with the Exhibit: The Founding of Lane. Then follow the rest of Exhibits in this order: Life at Lane Seminary, The Issue of Slavery, The Lane Rebels Dismissions, and The Aftermath of the Rebellion. After going through the Exhibits, be sure to look at the corresponding Collections to see the documents. All of the documents are together in Items. After you have finished viewing everything, For Further Reading contains my annotated bibliography and websites you can visit to learn more.