On June 5, 1851, Uncle Tom's Cabin began as a serial in the abolitionist weekly, The National Era. Uncle Tom's Cabin quickly became the world's second-best seller, outranked only by the Bible. The importance of Harriet Beecher Stowe's monumental work was as evident at the time it was first published as it is today. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe at the White House and referred to her as 'the little lady who started this big war.' Lincoln knew better than anyone the irony in this. There was nothing diminutive about the issues she brought before the nation's conscience. A story of suffering and compassion, Uncle Tom's Cabin depicts slavery as honestly as it denounces it.