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  2. Abolitionist Leader William Lloyd Garrison | The Abolitionists | PBS LearningMedia
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  5. Articles: Navigating Slavery, Colonization and Imperial Space

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Library of Congress. Although The Liberator was Garrison's most prominent abolitionist activity, he had been involved in the fight to end slavery for years prior to its publication. The Liberator wasn't the only abolitionist manifesto during the s.

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Pamphlets like this one were disseminated widely throughout the North, although many were banned in the South. Abolition From the African-American Mosaic Exhibition at the Library of Congress, this webpage offers a brief overview of the abolitionist movement and images and links to documents from the period. The documents, which are a sampling of those held by the Library of Congress, are described and their relevance to the anti-slavery movement is noted.

This webpage recounts the numerous difficulties encountered to free slaves. Clements Library is the repository of the correspondence and other records of the Rochester New York Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society formed in to promote the anti-slavery cause. The records are not online, but the Library has prepared a very interesting and informative overview of the organization and its activities and influence.

This webpage describing the collection provides an overview of their involvement in the anti-slavery movement. This is more detailed than most overviews and contains many interesting facts about various methods used by anti-slavery advocates.


Abolitionist Leader William Lloyd Garrison | The Abolitionists | PBS LearningMedia

Colonization For all the abolitionists that wanted African Americans to be free American citizens, there were also a large number that felt freed slaves would be better off in Africa. A young abolitionist, John Reid Campbell, led Garrison to a rear window and managed to drop his hero and himself from the second floor to the roof of an adjacent shed.

The carpenter hid the fugitives in a corner of his loft and covered the corner with lumber. Not long afterwards the mob broke down the door to the shop and demanded to know where Garrison was hiding. The carpenter was beaten after refusing to answer, but still he said nothing. Unfortunately, a young apprentice pointed to the loft, after which the mob used a ladder to reach Garrison, wrap a rope three times around his chest, and pull him down.

Garrison might very well have been killed on that day had not two beefy brothers, Daniel and Buff Cooley, intervened. The mayor protested that his building was unsafe so long as Garrison was on the premises, so he insisted that the abolitionist, with his clothes in tatters and with his spectacles smashed, must spend the night in jail for his own protection.

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The immediate danger was not yet over, however. The heroic driver of the coach—a black man whose name has been lost to history—saved the day by repeatedly striking the crowd with a whip as he sped away. This dramatic story is surely the stuff of movies, but it is not an especially unusual one by abolitionist standards of the s. Many similar stories have been recorded during this decade of intense mob violence against abolitionists.

Garrison was nearly killed by a mob on at least one other occasion, whereas some other abolitionists—such as the writer, editor, and newspaper publisher Elijah Lovejoy—were not lucky enough to be rescued. Lovejoy was shot and killed in while attempting to prevent an armed mob in Alton, Illinois from destroying his printing press for the fourth time.

A young attorney named Wendell Phillips saw Garrison as he was being mobbed and hauled through the street, and this incident affected Phillips greatly.

William Lloyd Garrison

At this time Phillips, who had the look and bearing of an aristocrat, was a conservative Whig who apparently had not given much thought to the slavery issue. But he was horrified by the treatment of Garrison, viewing it as an attempt to suppress an unpopular viewpoint whose defenders should enjoy the fundamental right of free speech.

Phillips was not alone in this reaction. Other Americans, including many who were not abolitionists, came to view widespread mob violence during the s as a threat to the civil liberties of all Americans.

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However these people viewed abolitionism, they felt that their own freedoms were under attack, especially the rights of free speech and a free press. As a result, abolitionism became more than a crusade for the immediate emancipation of slaves. It became a living symbol for the exercise and protection of civil liberties in general. It was not long after witnessing the violence against Garrison that Phillips was won over to abolitionism.

Articles: Navigating Slavery, Colonization and Imperial Space

He was persuaded by his wife, a fervent and articulate Garrisonian. The Garrisonians were highly suspicious and severely critical of Abraham Lincoln from the beginning of his presidency. Lincoln advocated a number of key doctrines that the Garrisonians despised, most notably colonization and gradualism; and he opposed repealing the Fugitive Slave Act of —a draconian piece of legislation that even many political moderates condemned as loathsome.

In addition, the Garrisonians believed Lincoln when he repeatedly proclaimed that he was fighting the war not to end slavery—indeed, not to free even a single slave—but solely to preserve the Union. Although the Garrisonians knew that Lincoln opposed slavery, they tended to view him as a political opportunist who valued political expediency over moral principles. And this attitude was precisely what the Garrisonians had excoriated for many years.

Nevertheless, most Garrisonians believed that as the war wore on and as the North suffered one major defeat after another, Lincoln would eventually be compelled to emancipate slaves as a necessary war measure. But Garrison and Phillips differed on how supportive abolitionists should be of Lincoln. Garrison became a war hawk, in effect, on behalf of the Northern cause, thereby appearing to mangle the principles of pacifism and disunionism that he had defended for decades.

Although Phillips who was never a pacifist also supported the North, he retained his moral aversion to war and never succumbed to the belief that a Northern victory, even if slavery were abolished as a result, would usher in an era of peace and harmony in America. Like other cataclysmic events, the Civil War generated serious divisions within the ranks of people who had previously subscribed to the same overall ideology. Most historians have concluded that Garrison simply betrayed or abandoned his principles of pacifism and disunionism when he supported the Northern war effort to preserve the Union.

But this is not how Garrison viewed the matter.