Abolitionism, Spiritualism, and Women’s Lib

by Al Benson Jr.

The radical Abolitionist Movement in the North (separate from the conservative abolitionist movement in the South) in the years from the 1830s through “reconstruction” at the end of the War of Northern Aggression, was the cause of many problems that we are still faced with today, two of which are the modern “Women’s Liberation Movement.” and the “Civil Rights Movement.”

Many in our day, without a correct understanding of the real intent of the Abolitionist Movement, have sought to draw a parallel between it and today’s Pro-Life Movement. This is something that should never be done. The contemporary Pro-Life Movement is able to stand on its own without resorting to the apostate underpinnings of 19th century radical abolitionism.  Radical abolitionism in the 1800s produced men of the stripe of abolitionist/terrorist John Brown. His solution to the slavery problem was to execute slave owners, or even potential slave owners during late night visits to their homes while their wives and children were forced to stand by and watch the executions. Should the present Pro-Life Movement ally itself with such a history? If it does so then it will be to its own hurt one day.

Although there were undoubtedly some Christian people in the Abolitionist Movement, by and large, it was an experiment in rank apostasy. Many of its adherents had become enamored of the strange doctrines of Spiritualism  that so permeated mid-19th century America.  Yet others had become devotees of Unitarianism–yet another form of apostasy from Christian truth.

In her book Radical Spirits author Ann Braude  observed that: “Every notably progressive family of the nineteenth century had its advocate of Spiritualism, some of them more than one…The ubiquitous  Beecher family contributed Charles Beecher  and Isabella Beecher to the ranks, while Harriet Beecher Stowe became a serious investigator…As already noted, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison was an early convert and remained loyal to the movement until his death. The famous Grimke sisters,  Sarah and Angelina talked to spirits.” All of these people were abolitionists and all, according to Braude, were involved in Spiritualism. Every wonder why your history books forgot to mention any of this?

Braude’s book, on page 60, noted that: “Radical abolitionists, in turn, found in Spiritualism a religion of harmony with their individualist principles. Abolitionists’ interests in both  women’s rights and Spiritualism derived from their fierce loyalty to the principles of individualism. Radical abolitionists agreed with Romantics and Transcendentalists that the church, the clergy, and the Bible were so many enslavers of the human spirit. They also believed that individualist principles required constant agitation in order to effect the transformation of society.” Braude here has come out and admitted what many of us have been saying for years, that radical abolitionism was about much more than freeing slaves–it was about the transformation of our society. In other words, those people were the practitioners of the Marxist “Critical Theory” agenda in their day, even though that term had yet to be coined. They wanted no interference from the Christian Church as they sought to denigrate the Christian culture around them and replace it with their own. Their agenda was to remake American society in their own image–a not-so-subtle form of idolatry.  Is this really any different from what is going on today?

One of the leaders in the 19th century Women’s Lib Movement was Susan B. Anthony. They put a postage stamp out with her picture on it several years ago. Another author, Kathleen Berry, in her book Susan B. Anthony took a little different tack on Anthony’s worldview. She noted that: “In her autobiography, Elizabeth Cady Stanton described Susan’s spirituality as that of an agnostic. Susan never denied the existence of God, but her beliefs were secularized and lodged in the world around her. Her father, who had grown increasingly frustrated with the limited world view of the Quakers…turned to the Unitarian Church. Susan was also sympathetic to Unitarian beliefs.” So, however you take it, Spiritualist or Unitarian, Anthony’s beliefs were a radical departure from orthodox Christianity–and this was the foundation for Women’s Lib!

Braude, in Radical Spirits has identified Spiritualism as being present at the Women’s Rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. She has stated, quite plainly, that: “From this time on, Spiritualism and Women’s Rights intertwined repeatedly  as both became mass movements that challenged the existing norms of American life.  The two movements shared many leaders and activists.”

It is worth noting, coincidentally, that the Spiritualist Movement in this country began to make its inroads right around 1848, the same year that the socialist and communist revolts began in Europe. In fact, one of the female “Forty-Eighters,” Mathilda Franziska Anneke, wife of socialist agitator Fritz Anneke, once she came to America, became one of the leading lights in the Women’s Rights Movement.  Walter Kennedy and I, in our book Lincoln’s Marxists document quite a bit of this. Anneke worked closely with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton  and even lobbied in Washington in behalf of Women’s Rights.

This gives you a brief overview of the connections between the radical abolitionists, the Spiritualists, the Unitarians, and some of the Forty-Eighters, and the Women’s libbers. Just for a moment, stop and reflect on what these people have done to our once-Christian culture while the church-at-large has continued to slumber.

Writer Henry Makow Ph.D. noted, in an article published back in 2010 that: “The Women’s Liberation Movement was patterned on the Civil Rights Movement.  They are off-the-shelf Communist psycho-social operations. To be effective, they must appear to reflect a popular groundswell rather than an elite agenda from above.” Makow felt these movements might have rectified some genuine injustices, but then said “…their hidden purpose is to destabliize American society.” He’s right. Undoubtedly he is referring here to the contemporary version of the Women’s Rights Movement rathen than the 19th century one, but no matter how you look at it, it’s all of one fabric and it all has, as the main agenda, the destruction of Christian culture in this country. We need to begin to wake up and understand this.

6 thoughts on “Abolitionism, Spiritualism, and Women’s Lib

    • Well done Al. Enjoyed the insights and background you’ve provided. I would like to see you follow up this article with the Biblical formula in addressing how the problems and excesses of race based slavery, along with the critical issues women faced, could have been addressed by a truly Christian society, had they been given the opportunity over the past 150-200 years. Robert E. Lee, for example, spoke of “the melting influence of Christianity” in erasing what he saw as the evils of slavery in his day. I think a great many people need to understand what the alternative to what has come to pass might have looked like. Thanks.


      Does God love the whole world? Yes, however, salvation is conditional.

      John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (NASB)

      CONDITION FOR SALVATION: Whoever believes in Jesus.

      Romans 10:10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation.(NASB)

      CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION: Believing and confessing.

      John 3:18 He who believes in Him is not judges; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.(NASB)

      CONDITION FOR SALVATION: You must believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

      Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who disbelieves shall be condemned.(NASB)

      CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION: Believe in Jesus and be immersed in water.

      1 Peter 1:21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.(NASB)

      CONDITION FOR SALVATION: Faith and hope in God only comes through Jesus Christ.

      John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he does not obey the Son will not not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.(NASB)

      CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION: You must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and obey Him. Jesus said he who believes and is baptized shall be saved.

      Acts 22:16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.(NASB)

      CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION: You need to acknowledge the authority of Jesus before you are baptized in water. Yes, water baptism is essential for salvation.

      Acts 3:19 Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order of times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; (NASB)

      CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION: You must repent of your unbelief and return to God through faith in Jesus Christ.

      1 John 5:11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.(NASB)

      CONDITION FOR SALVATION: Eternal life only comes through Jesus Christ

      Galatians 3:26-27 For you are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.(NASB)

      CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION: Faith in Christ Jesus and being baptized into Christ.

      John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit e cannot enter into the kingdom of God.(NASB)

      CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION: Baptized in water and receive the gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

      Acts 5:32 And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”(NASB)

      CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION: Obey God by meeting the terms for pardon and you will be born again by receiving the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit Himself.

      Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will received the gift of of the Holy Spirit.(NASB)

      CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION: Repent by believing that Jesus is both Lord and Christ and make the commitment to turn from sin and and turn toward God and be immersed in water. Then you will receive the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit. At that point you have been born of the water and the Spirit.

      1 John 4:15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he is in God.(NASB)

      CONDITION FOR SALVATION: You must confess Jesus as the Son of God.

      Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good new about the kingdom of God, they were baptized, men and women alike.(NASB)

      CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION: They believed and were immersed in water. There were no unbelieving adults nor were there any unbelieving infants baptized. Believing in Jesus always precedes water baptism.

      Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;(NASB)

      CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION: Confess Jesus, believe in His resurrection from the grave. Note; no infant can believe in the resurrection nor can they believe in Jesus. Why would anyone baptize infants? Infants have no need for forgiveness, they are not guilty of sin.

      1 Peter 3:21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.(NASB)

      CONDITION FOR SALVATION: Appealing to God for a good conscience through being immersed in water baptism.

      Acts 2:22-41 ……40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.(NASB)

      CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION: Believe and be baptized in water.

      Acts 16:30-34 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They said,”Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”….33….and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household…….34 having believed in God with his whole household.(NASB)

      CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION: Believe in the Lord Jesus and be baptized in water. Note: The jailer did not believe for his household. His whole household believed. The jailer did not believe for anyone but himself. Infants cannot believe therefore; none were baptized in water.

      Ephesians 5:23-27…….so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water by the washing of water with the word…..27 that she would be holy and blameless.(NASB)

      CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION: Jesus must sanctify and cleanse the body of Christ by washing it with water baptism accord to the word of God.


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  1. “Susan never denied the existence of God, but her beliefs were secularized and lodged in the world around her.”

    People need to direct their faith and energies somewhere and without God politics and social causes seem to be the most popular substitute. I think you’ve posted something on this phenomenon in the past.

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