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Thus the Wesleyan Methodist Connection was established in May 1843 with 6,000 charter members. They quickly developed a newspaper, the True Wesleyan, which was distributed to a grass roots constituency in twelve northern states. Their members included some of the most fervent abolitionists of the day at a time when prominent activists like William Lloyd Garrison routinely criticized most other northern churches for their conservatism on the slavery issue. " By 1849, the Wesleyan Methodists had grown to number about 20,000 people, three-quarters of them having joined within the first two years of secession from the Methodist Episcopals (which retained more than 1 million members).

Many of these northerners thought that the Society was just inciting trouble; its call for emancipation threatened to undo the tenuous sectional compromise that had just been reached in 1823. Equally as important, if not more so, the AAS also supported political and religious equality among the races. This went beyond emancipation to a demand for race equality that many antebellum Americans (North and South) automatically associated with interracial sex, or "amalgamation," as they called it. Now that really incited the mobs-many felt they were literally battling for the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race itself.

By the 1840s, the Methodist Episcopal Church was the largest denomination in the country, with more than 1 million members. "12 Beginning in the 1830s and increasingly in the 1840s, antislavery activists began seceding from the Methodist Episcopal Church because they had come to the conclusion that it condoned slavery. In 1842, leading Methodist abolitionists called for their supporters to join them in leaving to establish a new church that would be free of fellowship with slaveholders. Thus the Wesleyan Methodist Connection was established in May 1843 with 6,000 charter members.

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Abolitionism by Shmoop

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