ab·​o·​li·​tion·​ism ˌa-bə-ˈli-shə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce abolitionism (audio)
: principles or measures promoting the abolition especially of slavery
among the New Englanders committed to abolitionism

Examples of abolitionism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Bates College, renamed in honor of its industrialist patron, was an early hotbed of abolitionism and one of the first schools to allow women and African Americans to study alongside white men. Alex Seitz-Wald, NBC News, 27 Oct. 2023 There is extensive instruction on the history and economics of the development of slavery, as well as abolitionism, slave revolts, and the Underground Railroad. The Editors, National Review, 25 July 2023 Hirshman’s book is a lively depiction of the antislavery movement, in which the three charismatic characters at the heart of her story provide an engaging avenue into the competing philosophies and strategies that continually challenged abolitionism’s unity and effectiveness. Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2022 Of more than 37,000 city properties with landmark protection, just 17 sitesare related to abolitionism or the Underground Railroad, the network of Black and white activists who helped enslaved African-Americans flee north to freedom before the Civil War. New York Times, 8 Jan. 2021 More broadly, the erasure of the real Thaddeus Stevens epitomized a generations-long effort to denigrate abolitionism and thwart the transformation in American race relations that had begun with the postwar amendments guaranteeing equal protection under the law and voting rights. Fergus M. Bordewich, WSJ, 5 Mar. 2021 Collectively, the contents illustrate the transatlantic nature of slavery and abolitionism, the significance of Black mobility (forced and voluntary) to American literature and history, the centrality of women and children, and savvy strategies of Black resistance. Washington Post, 5 Mar. 2021 From the codified curricula of the trivium and quadrivium to the rigors of philosophy and philosophical expression to Beethoven, Dave Brubeck, and Miles Davis to the rule of law, democracy, the city, abolitionism, and property rights, the legacy of the classical world never ceases to amaze. Andre M. Archie, National Review, 27 Feb. 2021 Like the Garrisonians and evangelical revivalists who raised him up in abolitionism, Douglass was initially suspicious, even disdainful, of the political process—the assemblage of institutional compromises that had rationalized and extended American slavery. Jabari Asim, The New Republic, 14 Aug. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'abolitionism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


abolition + -ism

First Known Use

1807, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of abolitionism was in 1807

Dictionary Entries Near abolitionism

Cite this Entry

“Abolitionism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abolitionism. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

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