Date of Award

5-7-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Wendy Venet

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Baker

Abstract

This thesis examines abolitionist support for interracial marriage. It demonstrates that far from being a marginal viewpoint within the movement, support for interracial marriage was widespread among both black and white abolitionists. Many abolitionists stated they personally did not recommend interracial marriage at present due to the backlash couples would face, while also denying that it was unnatural or immoral. A few abolitionists eschewed such a disclaimer. A few also married people of different races themselves. To a considerable extent, defense of interracial marriage was part of a larger push for racial integration and equality. This thesis also looks at British abolitionists who criticized the American stigma against interracial marriage, and children and grandchildren of abolitionists who defended interracial marriage, the most prominent being the famous, controversial lawyer, Clarence Darrow.

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