The young Harriet was an abolitionist. She detested slavery. Harriet agonized in the 1850's over the flourishing slave trade south of the Mason Dixon line. But what, she thought, could this poor, relatively unknown daughter of an evangelist do to stem the growing tide of slave trade and stop the efforts of slave traders to expand slavery into the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska?
I can write, thought Harriet. That's what I can do. And write she did.
Harriet Beecher Stowe poured out her anger into a novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, that won immediate acclaim in the North and infamy in the South. More than three hundred thousand copies were sold in 1852, its first year in print, and over two million copies were sold during the next decade making it the bestselling novel in American history at the time - and according to proportion to population, it remains the bestselling American novel ever.
The book was adapted to the stage and countless thousands of Americans felt the author's agony over slavery in the character of Tom, who is eventually beaten to death by his master, Simon Legree. Audiences and readers also felt the author's hope and inspiration in defeating slavery through the escape of Eliza and her five-year-old son via the Underground Railroad. The nation became effected by the pen of a young daughter of an American evangelist.
According to Harry Stout, author of Upon the Altar of the Nation, Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe during the Civil War and reputedly greeted her with these words:
So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war."
As those of who are parents tasked with the responsiblitity of properly training our children, we would do well to remember that the power of the pen shall never diminish. The keyboard may be the new instrument, but the ability to organize ideas through writing shall always wield tremendous power. Those who believe only the visual moves the massses simply need to be reminded that the all visual mediums (movies, television, videos, etc. . . ) follow scripts.
For all you Christians out there who write, keep it up. In the end, the kingdom of Christ is advanced. And for all you young people who play X-Box - consider dropping the controller and picking up a keyboard or a pen and write. It's far more satisfying to make history by doing good for the world than to simply watch the world go by.
In His Grace,