Review: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Uncle Tom's CabinUncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t imagine that I have never read this book, even though it’s been on my to-be-read list for years. I thought I had a pretty good idea about what it was about, but I wanted to read it because of its historical significance—Abraham Lincoln credited it with leading to the Civil War. However, I didn’t expect it to have the powerful impact on me that it did.

Since “Uncle Tom” today refers to a subservient, obsequious person with no courage to stand up to evil, I was surprised to read about the character of Uncle Tom. He was no weak-willed, servile person, but a devout Christian who lived the way he understood the Bible said. He didn’t rebel against his earthly masters because he believed in turning the other cheek, as Jesus preached and practiced. However, when ordered to whip another slave, Uncle Tom sacrificed his own life by refusing to carry out the evil order. He would not take part in violence against another person even though his refusal lead to violence against him. Uncle Tom is an example of how Christians should live and die. I would consider the highest of honors if I were called an Uncle Tom!

The other thing that really struck me about the book was how people who considered themselves good Christians owned slaves and/or approved of slavery. They felt that if they treated their slaves well, they were doing their Christian duty. They didn’t see that the enslaved people were created by God in His image, just as they were, that the slaves deserved to live their lives in freedom, just as the slave owners did. From today’s perspective, it’s easy to see how evil slavery was and how much those Christians who participated in it were violating God’s will.

As a society, we pride ourselves on being so much better than the generations before us that perpetuated such an evil institution as slavery. Yet today, we have a class of human beings who are, like slaves, considered less than human; a class of human beings who have no right to freedom, indeed no right to life.

Those who are denied the right to life are the unborn, the most innocent and most vulnerable of God’s people. A mother can murder her baby legally, just as the slave owner could murder his slave legally.

Ending slavery meant that thousands of uneducated men and women with no experience at making the simplest of decisions were suddenly responsible for themselves and their families. The whole structure of society had to change, and that process has taken more than a century.

Ending abortion is much simpler. Pregnant women simply carry their babies to term rather than discard them like garbage. The mother may find that a temporary hardship, but killing the baby results in permanent death. If the mother is not able or willing to raise the child, the baby can be adopted by a loving family. Because of the huge number of abortions each year, it will probably take time to have enough adoptive parents for all the new babies. However, today many families are unable to adopt a baby as they would love to do because there simply aren’t enough babies. Finding loving homes for babies will be much easier than changing the whole structure of society after the elimination of slavery.

I can see why Uncle Tom’s Cabin awoke the conscience of the country regarding slavery. Thanks be to God for the advocacy of abolitionists who believed that every human being is made in the image of God and deserves life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I’m praying that the advocacy of Christians who believe in the sanctity of all human life will bring about an end to abortion.

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Disclosure: I downloaded a free copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin from, but the free price had no effect on my review.

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