Published in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel was a powerful indictment of slavery in America. Describing the many trials and eventual escape to freedom of the long-suffering, good-hearted slave Uncle Tom, it aimed to show how Christian love can overcome any human cruelty. Uncle Tom's Cabin has remained controversial to this day, seen as either a vital milestone in the anti-slavery cause or as a patronising stereotype of African-Americans, yet it played a crucial role in the eventual abolition of slavery and remains one of the most important American novels ever written.
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