Decision Activity: Samuel Allinson
Burlington County, NJ, July 1778
Have you ever stood up for what you believe in?
My name is Samuel Allinson. I was born in 1739, and lived in Burlington County New Jersey. Professionally, I was a lawyer who was considered to be very talented during my career. I was an abolitionist and Quaker. During the Revolution, I was a supporter of Loyalist ideals because enslaved peoples who were able to get to England in the late 1700s would be offered freedom. In my life, I worked to manumit the enslaved with my father-in-law, David Cooper. I worked hard to give freedom to Catherine and her daughter Esther in 1774. In 1782, I manumitted Jean and her three children Deborah, Violetta, and Edward.
As a prominent member of the Quaker community in Burlington County, I led meetings in the 1780s to help members of my religion understand the immorality of slavery. More importantly, I used these meetings as an opportunity to help educate free blacks in my community-an unprecedented option at the time.
During the revolution, I wrote letters to two well-known founding fathers: William Livingston and Patrick Henry. In my letter to Livingston, I explained why the institution of slavery was immoral. I was hoping that New Jersey would lead the way of abolition for the new nation, but unfortunately, Governor Livingston would not be able to do this during his time in office. I didn’t know Patrick Henry, but my words to him were adamant about the abolition of slavery.
So, knowing all of this about me, I ask you: When have you taken a stand for what you know is morally right?
Why did Samuel Allinson decide to contact prominent men during the Revolutionary War era?
Did Samuel Allinson’s decision to speak out against slavery have any benefit?
If you could ask Samuel Allinson one question today, what would it be?
What causes do you believe in or support?
What factors influence our decisions to stand up for what is morally right?