Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe: Fuses of the Civil War

University of Maryland

Dr. Richard Bell is Professor of History at the University of Maryland. He holds a PhD from Harvard University and has won more than a dozen teaching awards, including the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, and the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar award. Professor Bell is author of the new book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home, which was shortlisted for the George Washington Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize.


About Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe

“So, you’re the little lady who started this great war!” said President Abraham Lincoln in the fall of 1862 when he finally met Harriet Beecher Stowe. This “little lady” was the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin: a roller-coaster anti-slavery novel that had become a huge best-seller after its publication in 1852. Lincoln and others at the time believed that Stowe’s novel had caused the Civil War by intensifying public sentiment against slavery in the North. It also spurred a reactionary surge of proslavery feeling in the states that would later secede to form the Confederate States of America.

History of Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe

But Lincoln also could have been talking to and about Harriet Tubman. Like Stowe, Tubman’s activism advanced the fight against slavery and edged this country closer to Civil War. As the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad, Tubman and her allies built an antislavery escape network that stretched from the bowels of the slave South all the way into British Canada. Join us as Dr. Richard Bell leads us in a talk about both of these American icons.

Learn more about Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe

Learn more about the history of Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe by visiting our online history lectures. With new educational and entertaining history lectures every week, we’re constantly adding great history courses to our library. Below are some recent additions as well as some student favorites, including 6000 Years Of Religion, American Democracy: Where Are We Now, & FDR & The Evolution Of An American Ideal.



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Dennis McDaniel

Harriett Tubman

The professor made this history come alive. He provided context that supported the legend and included many more heroes. His speaking style (and accent) were engaging and entertaining.
This story of unselfish courage and dedication to justice bears retelling and remembering, and the professor told it well.

1 year ago
barbara ann.fields

Insightful Presentation

Thank you for your insightful presentation into these two women. As much as I thought I knew, you have enlightened me. To see this country slipping backwards it is encouraging to know that there are those who are still shining light on our past to help influence our present and future. I try to identify our present day Harriet’s.

1 year ago
Joy Morros

His knowledge of history is remarkable and he makes you want to learn more. Always enjoy his presentations.

11 months ago
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