HomeFor Further Research

For Further Research

Annotated Bibliography


Primary Sources


American Anti-Slavery Society. Declaration of sentiments of the American anti-slavery society. New York: American anti-slavery society, 1833. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/rbpe.11801100/.


No author’s name is assigned to this historic document. The purpose of this document is to express the founders’ reasons for establishing the society. They argue it is “in relation to the enslavement of one-sixth portion of the American people” that they convene and produce this document. They maintain that slavery is a crime and should be removed “by moral and political action”. Sources used by the authors are biblical scriptures and their own beliefs. There is great value in this primary source as it spells out the founders’ explicit opinions about slavery and reasoning for the establishment of a national society.


General Catalogue of Lane Seminary, Cincinnati: Elm Street Printing Company, 1881. https://archive.org/stream/generalcatalogue00lane#page/n81/mode/2up.


Although no author is shown, corrections to this listing are to be sent to Prof. Henry P. Smith at Lane Theological Seminary. This catalogue lists the trustees, faculty and students who attended Lane. It argues that to the best of their ability, additional information about the student’s lives is also recorded. An important note states: “Owing to dissatisfaction with certain measures, none who entered this class graduated in 1836, and the majority severed their connection with the Seminary in the fall of 1834.” This is a rare, original, document used as a primary source to show whom the first students were to attend Lane Seminary and confirm that none from the class of 1836 graduated.


Lane Seminary. Defence of the Students. The Liberator, vol.5, no.2, Jan. 10, 1835, pp. 5-6 http://www.oberlin.edu/external/EOG/LaneDebates/RebelsDefence.htm


Fifty-one Lane Seminary students signed this document, which states their reasons for leaving the institution. They argue that their right of free speech was violated by new orders from the Executive Committee of Lane Trustees, which eliminate all student societies and open discussion of slavery issues. This primary source is important as it confirms those who were involved and describes their motivations.


Beecher, Lyman. “Dr. Beecher’s Address,” Uncle Tom’s Cabin & American Culture, 1834. http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/abolitn/abes38at.html.


Rev. Dr. Lyman Beecher wrote this speech, which he gave at the colonization meeting in Cincinnati. In it he reflects upon the colonization society, the anti-slavery society and their ideals. He argues that both societies are valid and should coexist in order to succeed in eliminating slavery. He also spells out his belief that colonization will help spread Christianity in Africa. Rev. Beecher uses the Bible and his own beliefs as sources to explore these topics. It is useful to have the authors own words to verify the opinions expressed in my other sources regarding Beecher.


Bradley, James. “Brief Account of an Emancipated Slave written by Himself, at the Request of the Editor”. Oasis, June 1834. http://www.oberlin.edu/external/EOG/LaneDebates/BradleyLetter.htm


This article is a brief autobiography describing the author’s life from childhood in Africa to slavery in America. Bradley’s early life details are minimal but he provides greater depth about the methods of work and products he produced to purchase his freedom. Also, Bradley provides information about his treatment and emotions as a plantation slave. This article is unique in the collective literature on this subject as Bradley was one of few former slaves during the 1830’s who had the ability and freedom to write. This article is extremely beneficial as a first-hand account and primary source written in 1834.


Stanton, Henry B. Debate at the Lane Seminary, Cincinnati. March 10, 1834. Boston: Garrison & Knapp, 1834. http://www.oberlin.edu/external/EOG/LaneDebates/thome.pdf.


Stanton wrote a letter to summarize the debates, which occurred at Lane Seminary in February 1834. His letter details the two questions debated over 18 evenings and outlines the participants arguments. Stanton tells his audience about those who spoke including James Bradley, the first man of color to study at Lane Seminary. His sources are the written records of the nightly debates. This is the only primary source I have found which provides a detailed account of the Lane debates. It is most important as it was written immediately following the debates in 1834.


Stanton, Henry B. Random Recollections. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1887. https://archive.org/details/randomrecollecti00instan


This autobiography is a lengthy, retelling of Henry B. Stanton’s life and family heritage. True to its title, the memories are presented in a random, rambling fashion. Stanton utilizes his gift of oratory to document, often in ornate language, the events of his life and times in America and abroad. It is useful as a guide to understanding the abolition issue from the viewpoint of an active participant whose lifespan ran parallel with much of the history of slavery in America.


Tappan, Lewis, The Life of Arthur Tappan. New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1870.


This book was written following the death of Lewis’ beloved brother, Arthur Tappan. It argues that Arthur was a wealthy businessman, abolitionist, philanthropist and founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society. The author also describes Mr. Tappan’s involvement in the founding of the Lane Theological Seminary of Cincinnati, Ohio. He tells us that Arthur was chiefly responsible for bringing Rev. Dr. Beecher to act as Lane’s president. He further describes the societies present at the seminary and the impact of the Lane debates. The author draws upon his own recollections and sources such as letters from Rev. Charles Grandison Finney, Theodore Dwight Weld and writings of Rev. Dr. Lyman Beecher. This book provides an intimate glimpse into Mr. Tappan’s life that other more scholarly sources cannot. It is obvious in its admiration between the two brothers. The specific sections on the Lane Seminary and debates are extremely useful because of the first-hand look at those events.


Thome, James A. Speech of James A. Thome, of Kentucky, delivered at the Annual Meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society, May 6, 1834. Boston: Garrison & Knapp, 1834. http://www.oberlin.edu/external/EOG/LaneDebates/thome.pdf.


As one of the Lane Rebels, Mr. Thome delivered his speech at the annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1834. In it he argues a detailed message about the deplorable conditions of slavery from his first-hand account in Kentucky. Thome’s sources are his personal observations and experiences on his family plantation. This speech is one of the few published during 1834 as given by a debate participant.


Secondary Sources


The Book of Order, The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Part II. Louisville: Presbyterian Office of the General Assembly, 2013.


No specific author is named. This book outlines in thorough detail, the form of government and foundations of polity for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) denomination. Sources utilized include biblical scriptures, General Assembly Minutes, and the prior editions of the Book of Order and the Book of Confessions. This is the definitive source for all issues concerning the denomination. It is useful as a guide to understanding the influence of the church in establishing seminaries.


DeBoer, Louis F. “Lesson 6, The Schism of 1837” and “Lesson 7, The Schism of 1861,” The Issue of Slavery. Presbyterian Church History. http://www.americanpresbyterianchurch.org/apc-history/presbyterian-history/the-schism-of-1837/?phpMyAdmin=5bfea12ade054e539515b5fb6263b387 and http://www.americanpresbyterianchurch.org/apc-history/presbyterian-history/the-schism-of-1861/.


Author Louis DeBoer informs readers about Presbyterian history through a series of 15 lessons. Lesson 6 lays out the causes of the division between the Old and New School churches. Lesson 7 provides historic background information on actions taken by Synods to promote abolition. He argues that the Presbyterian Church as a body was “opposed to slavery” in the 1700’s. Also, he discusses the differences between churches of the North and South and the influence of their respective geographic locations. This source is useful to me as I have yet to uncover this historic information. This source does not list any specific primary or secondary sources used by the author.


Fletcher, Robert Samuel. A History of Oberlin College, From Its Foundation Through the Civil War. Volume I. Chicago: Donnelly &Sons Company, 1943. http://www.archive.org/details/historyofoberlin01flet.


In this book written by Robert Fletcher, he recounts the founding and early days of the Oberlin Collegiate Institute now known as Oberlin College. He argues that earnest Christians hoping to educate men and women who would spread Christianity in the United States founded the Institute. He goes into wonderful detail regarding the founders and their efforts to convince the trustees to admit people of color as students. Also, he reports that this must occur in order that the Lane Rebels will agree to enroll. This book shows the importance of the Lane Rebels to the success of Oberlin College. Sources used by the author include letters from Finney, Weld, Shipherd, Thome, Stanton, the Tappans, and notes from trustee meetings. The value of this book impacts my understanding of what happened to the Rebels immediately following their departure from Lane Seminary.


Hobbs, Gilbert Barnes. The Antislavery Impulse, 1830-1844. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1933.


In the book, The Antislavery Impulse, written by Gilbert Hobbs Barnes in 1930, was the first work in the American antislavery historiography that explored the Lane debates and its impact on abolitionism in America. Hobbs dedicated two chapters to the Lane Seminary and the debates. Hobbs wrote this book about the Civil War and antislavery in regard to Weld, and Charles Grandison Finney, who Weld viewed as a mentor. Finney was a popular leader of evangelicalism and Hobbs argues that Finney’s style of preaching and converting evangelicals made a great impact on Weld and the rest of the Lane rebels. That these men were evangelicals, and the Great Revival inspired their rebellion against the seminary.


Jackson, Maurice. Anthony Benezet: Working the Antislavery Cause inside and outside of “The Society”. In Quakers and Abolition, edited by Carey Brycchan and Plank Geoffrey. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2014. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/j.ctt7zw60d.11.


In the book, Quakers and Abolition, Maurice Jackson wrote a chapter about the life and work of Anthony Benezet. Jackson argues that Benezet was a catalyst in the abolition movement. Benezet’s studies of Africa and his Quaker ideals helped influence people to understand that slavery was immoral. Jackson quotes Benezet’s writings and other works in the chapter. This is a great source for learning about the Quakers and their effects on abolitionism. This work is important because it gives great insight into the Quaker’s and how many of them were abolitionists when it was not something that was common among the Society of Friends throughout the 1700’s.


Lesick, Lawrence Thomas. The Lane Rebels: Evangelicalism and Antislavery in Antebellum America. Metuchen, New Jersey & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1980.


Lesick discusses the impact of evangelicalism on the antislavery efforts of the Lane Seminary rebels. This is the only book I was able to find during my research that provides a very in-depth look at the Lane debates and the rebels. Compared to all of the other sources referenced in my bibliography, both primary and secondary, this is the most complete source about the events surrounding the seminary. This book was written in 1980, and since then, no books have been published that solely focus on Lane Seminary and its debates. Lesick believes that the evangelical work of Charles Grandison Finney, an evangelical who was not widely known in the history of American abolitionism during the time this book was written, impacted the seminary’s students through “evangelical theology”. His primary sources range from letters and journals from the many Lane rebels, to newspapers and pamphlets from Cincinnati. Lesick keeps his notes very organized throughout the book and lists the sources he used for each chapter at the end of it, and also makes an overall list of sources at the end of the book. Lesick’s thesis describes how the students at the Lane Theological Seminary were impacted by evangelicalism, which in turn, shaped their antislavery beliefs.



Moore, John Hartwell, ed. “American Colonization Society and the Founding of Liberia”. Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, vol. 1. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2009. Gale Virtual Reference Library. go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=ohlnk162&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CCX2831200030&asid=0e955442c07fb5ee45802eaa698a66e7.


In the Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, edited by John Hartwell Moore, this book is a comprehensive look at the idea and history of race and racism. Moore is the editor-in-chief of this encyclopedia, and invited professors from across the U.S. to compose articles for this work. The article I used for my research was the “American Colonization Society and the Founding of Liberia”. This article provides an all-encompassing description of the American Colonization Society, which I did not find elsewhere. It also dives into the society’s ups and downs throughout its existence. The information about the establishment of the colony in Liberia was also extensive and useful.


Newman Ham, Debra, ed., “The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture.” http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/afam002.html http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/afam005.html.


Although no specific author is shown, the Resource Guide acknowledges Debra Newman Ham as Editor and Irene U. Burnham as Interpretive Program Director for this resource guide and exhibition. Two of the four parts within this resource guide cover Colonization and Abolition in America. The editor and staff argue that this is “a noteworthy and singular publication…”. They provide a succinct history of these two important subjects in a direct and factual fashion. The sources used include prints, photographs, books and periodicals from the Library’s extensive collections. This resource is most helpful to me as it is reliable, fact-based and contains original items from their rare collections.


Sinha, Manisha. The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016.


Historian Manisha Sinha provides the reader with a vast, comprehensive history of abolition. She argues that this book is a “new history of the abolition movement…”. She goes on to say, “Neither the scholarly not the lay consensus on abolition does justice to the movement’s rich, diverse, and contentious history.” The author utilizes hundreds of sources large and small. From historic pamphlets, newspapers and letters to autobiographies, and organizational meeting minutes, it appears there is not a source she has neglected. This source is most valuable to me in my research of the Lane debates and all those involved as it addresses the entire scope of abolition in America.


Thomas, Benjamin P. Theodore Weld: Crusader for Freedom. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1950.


Author Benjamin P. Thomas, has written a biography of American abolitionist Theodore Dwight Weld. Within the 16 chapters, Thomas argues that Weld was a man of “reckless righteousness” while providing vivid descriptions of Weld and his work as an abolitionist and educator throughout his life. The author gives special attention to Weld’s time at the Lane Seminary and the debates under his leadership. Sources include excerpts of letters written by Weld, Lewis Tappan, Arthur Tappan, Angelina Grimke, and fellow Lane Rebels. As Weld was a prolific speaker and writer, the author also utilizes Weld’s own speeches as a source of information. This source is useful as it presents the greatest amount of information I have discovered about Theodore Weld.


Thompson, J. Earl. Lyman Beecher's Long Road to Conservative Abolitionism. Church History 42, no. 1 1973, 89-109. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3165048.


Church historian J. Earl Thompson analyzes Lyman Beecher’s stance on slavery and abolition. Thompson argues that Beecher had a changing opinion on slavery based on his goal of advancing white evangelical Protestantism in America, which was already primarily white. The sources that this work uses are primarily Beecher’s sermons and writings in the African Repository and Colonial Journal, a quarterly journal made by the American Colonization Society. The journal was mainly propaganda for the Society. Thompson takes a different look at Beecher’s position on the unification of evangelical Protestants and how it impacted his views on abolition and those who radically supported it. This journal is useful because it dives into Lyman Beecher’s time in Cincinnati and how he reacted to radical abolition and his own views on conservative abolition as an important preacher and teacher.


For further research on Lane Theological Seminary, Ohio history, and abolition during the 19th century, please visit these websites:


Presbyterian Historical Society


Harriet Beecher Stowe House and Museum


Ohio History Connection


National Underground Railroad Freedom Center


Heritage Village Museum


Resources for Studying the Lane Debates and the Oberlin Commitment to Racial Egalitarianism


Presbytery of Cincinnati


Covenant-First Presbyterian Church