Study Guide

The Quakers in Uncle Tom's Cabin

By Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Quakers

The Quakers are members of a religious sect committed to pacifism and abolition; they help many slaves reach Canada. The Quakers shelter Eliza, George Harris, and their son, along with other slaves on their way to freedom. When George tells them he doesn’t want them to get involved in his dangerous situation, they tell him they are involved already as a matter of conscience. After Tom Loker is wounded while pursuing Eliza and George, a Quaker woman nurses him back to health, and her kindness changes him forever, even though he doesn’t become a Quaker himself.

Stowe reports, in her Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, that she drew her portrait of Quakers from personal experience. The Quakers, also known as the Society of Friends, are a small and dwindling movement in the twenty-first-century, but were a major 19th century sect that provided the backbone of the abolition movement.