Harriet's novel about two virtuous Christian slave families ~ one that perilously escapes to freedom with the help of Quaker abolitionists and one that is torn apart by the slave trade ~ was THE best-selling novel of the 19th century. First published serially in 1851, it's massive popularity was seen as a catalyst for the Civil War. Harriet herself was not in favor of war; she thought her book would awaken Christians to their duty to peacefully abandon slavery.
Though she was raised an abolitionist, it wasn't until Harriet lost her own son to cholera in 1849 that she was inspired to take vocal stance against slavery ~ a preventable evil that ripped families apart every day. The novel she wrote ~ Uncle Tom's Cabin ~ wound up being not only one of history's most important protest novels, but one of the most popular books of all time. An international bestseller, the text was translated into 60 languages. This woodcut illustration from the title page of an original 1852 edition features the idyllic cabin of the title ~ Uncle Tom's well-kept, loving home before the model Christian father is sold further and further down the river + away from his family.