Antislavery Movement, Role of Children

During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, society came to believe that childhood should be valued as a social tool. Children were not only a blank slate that could be molded at will, but many increasingly believed that children held the promise of a new, better future—should they be molded along the right lines, that is. At the same time, the image of the innocent child in need of protection from society’s ills also became a persuasive tool, and at times a weapon, used in multiple ways to invoke support and endorsement of any cause celebre. As such, children both White and Black became powerful symbols of hope for reformers during this period, and many incorporated children into their agendas as a means of ...

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