the principle or policy of abolition, especially of slavery of blacks in the U.S.

1800–10; abolition + -ism

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World English Dictionary
abolition (ˌæbəˈlɪʃən)
1.  the act of abolishing or the state of being abolished; annulment
2.  (often capital) (in British territories) the ending of the slave trade (1807) or the ending of slavery (1833): accomplished after a long campaign led by William Wilberforce
3.  (often capital) (in the US) the emancipation of the slaves, accomplished by the Emancipation Proclamation issued in 1863 and ratified in 1865
[C16: from Latin abolitio, from abolēre to destroy]
n, —adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1790, in the anti-slavery sense, from abolition + -ism.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

abolitionism definition

The belief that slavery should be abolished. In the early nineteenth century, increasing numbers of people in the northern United States held that the nation's slaves should be freed immediately, without compensation to slave owners. John Brown, Frederick W. Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman were well-known abolitionists.

Note: Abolitionism in the United States was an important factor leading to the Civil War.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The illustration on this sheet-music cover is an allegory of the triumph of abolitionism.
It is illustrated with an allegory of the triumph of abolitionism.
Conduct research to determine whether leaders in the suffrage movement contributed to abolitionism.
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