Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American author who wrote the novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" to show her indignation about the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. Published in 1852, the book became a bestseller and awakened the moral consciousness of many Americans to the evils of slavery.
Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in Connecticut in 1811, one of 13 children whose parents were profoundly religious. She attended a school run by her sister, receiving an education usually reserved for males. After moving to Cincinnati, Ohio, she joined a literary club, where she met Calvin Ellis Stowe, a fervent antislavery advocate who later became her husband. Together, she and her husband helped fugitive slaves find new lives in the North via the Underground Railroad.
After Congressional passage of the Fugitive Slave Law, Stowe decided to write the novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" to speak up about the issue of slavery. The novel became so popular and inspired such controversy that President Abraham Lincoln invited Stowe to the White House, where he remarked that she was partially responsible for igniting the Civil War.
Stowe wrote a number of other novels and works of nonfiction, though none attained the popularity of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," which was also made into a successful play. As she aged, her physical and mental health deteriorated. Researchers believe that she may have had Alzheimer's disease.