By the mid 1800's, slavery was a sensitive topic which gained momentum throughout the nineteenth century. It was a cause which would see many abolitionists rise to notoriety; however, the population was divided as to whether slavery should be abolished. There were various reasons that the South were unwilling to part with their slaves; the threat of economical instability was of great concern, but so to was the fear that there would be more competition for jobs resulting in undercutting of salary. The South heavily relied on cheap labour to meet the demands for cotton, indigo and tobacco, but many people in the North began to view slavery as an immoral and sinful institution.
In order to avoid hostility, the majority of abolitionists would congregate largely in the northern states; however, riots and abuse still took place. It was no longer just escaped slaves, free men and the majority of Quakers who became abolitionists, but educated white men and women, even those who were raised with slave owning parents in the South.