HARRIET BEECHER STOWE began her writing career by writing pieces for magazines to compliment her husbands' meager salary as a professor. She won a short story prize from Western Monthly Magazine, and in 1834, her short-story collection The Mayflower was published. At this time, Stowe was living in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was just across the river from the slave trade and gave her the impetus to write Uncle Tom's Cabin.
In 1850, the family movied to Boston at the height of the public furor over the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, which mandated the return of runaway slaves already in the North to their owners. Stowe set about writing a novel illustrating the moral responsibility of the entire nation for the cruel system. She forwarded the first episodes to the editor of the Washington anti-slavery weekly, The National Era, where it was published it in 40 installments. Although many Northerners considered slavery a political institution for which they had no personal responsibility, Uncle Tom's Cabin was becoming a national sensation.
The episodes attracted the attention of Boston publisher, J. P. Jewett, who published the work in March of 1852. Uncle Tom's Cabin immediately broke all sales records of the day: selling half-a-million copies by 1857. Stowe went on to many other literary projects, producing about a book a year from 1862 to 1884, but she is still most remembered as the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
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