Some American reformers and their influence on reform movements in Great Britain from 1830 to 1860
The main theme of this work is the extremely close connection between British and American humanitarians during the nineteenth century. This age, which is more usually noted for unfriendly relations between the two countries, produced at the same time a generation of Anglo-American reformers bound to each other by many ties. This is exemplified very clearly in the influence of various American reformers who visited Britain at this period. In the first chapter the framework of this connection is discussed, which then leads to a more detailed description of the place of the reform movements in the British scene. In this chap¬ ter the importance of Scotland in the reform world, and its special relations with American reformers is stressed. Throughout the thesis, indeed, special reference is made to Scotland. The work and influence of various American reformers is then considered in detail. For anti-slavery William Lloyd Garrison and certain Negro abolitionists have been selected as best giving an insight into the radical wing of the British anti-slavery movement. For the peace movement, Elihu Burritt was easily the most notable reformer to visit Britain, as was John Gough the most colourful to advocate temperance. The visit of George Cheever does not merely show the continuing interest in anti-slavery but also the close links between British and American churchmen, and in some measure, too, it brings to a close the work of this generation of reformers. The influence of the Americans on working class and democratic movements is considered separately, since it was felt that their influence in this sphere was an important one, if less radical than might be expected. The final chapter contains an overall assessment of the influence of the Americans. That this was often destructive, but always provocative, is clear. The Americans might divide movements, but they always encouraged popular support. Their work, too, might be limited in scope, but it nonetheless had wide indirect repercussions, and sheds an invaluable light on the importance of British humanitarianism. But above all, the visits illustrate the close ties between the two countries, and the value of studying this connection rather than stressing the differences between Britain and America.