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William Lloyd Garrison at Two Hundred

William Lloyd Garrison at Two Hundred

Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 160
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  • Book Info
    William Lloyd Garrison at Two Hundred
    Book Description:

    William Lloyd Garrison (1805-79) was one of the most militant and uncompromising abolitionists in the United States. As the editor of the abolitionist paperThe Liberatorand cofounder of the American Anti-Slavery Society, Garrison spent most of his life arguing against slavery on strictly moral grounds. This engrossing book presents six essays that reevaluate Garrison's legacy, his accomplishments, and his limitations.

    Eminent scholars-David W. Blight, Bruce Laurie, James Brewer Stewart, Richard J. M. Blackett, and Lois A. Brown-and a distinguished journalist, Lloyd McKim Garrison, who is Garrison's direct descendant, reflect on Garrison as a political activist, an internationalist, an advocate of feminism, and more. Together they present a new appraisal of one of America's most challenging, inspiring, and controversial historical figures.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15240-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xiv)
  4. 1 William Lloyd Garrison at Two Hundred: His Radicalism and His Legacy for Our Time
    (pp. 1-12)

    William Lloyd Garrison is a storied, troubling, challenging, profoundly important, and controversial historical figure. Along with Frederick Douglass, there was no more significant American reformer in the nineteenth century. It was not always safe to be William Lloyd Garrison, in his hometown of Boston or anywhere in the United States. He was deeply loved and respected by his family and closest friends and followers. For many good reasons he was called Father Garrison by the beloved, turbulent, quarrelsome band known as the Garrisonians. And at home he was a fun-loving, king husband and father who delighted in the household that...

  5. 2 “And There Shall Be No More Sea”: William Lloyd Garrison and the Transatlantic Abolitionist Movement
    (pp. 13-40)

    When in early 1865 the Stars and Stripes were once again raised over Fort Sumter, William Lloyd Garrison and George Thompson, the British abolitionist, were there to witness the symbolic reuniting of the country at the end of a brutal civil war. It seemed a fitting culmination to the work of the two men who together had struggled for over thirty years to keep the transatlantic abolitionist movement together and who were considered by their peers to be the two pivotal figures in the struggle to win freedom for slaves in the United States. Inspired in part by Garrison’s bold...

  6. 3 William Lloyd Garrison and Emancipatory Feminism in Nineteenth-Century America
    (pp. 41-76)

    The debut issue of theLiberator,the premier American abolitionist newspaper, featured one of the most forceful declarations that William Lloyd Garrison, its visionary editor, ever made. Many are familiar with the poetic pledge in which Garrison laid down the sure foundation on which his politics and his Boston press would rest until America unshackled itself and those enslaved within its borders from the peculiar institution. The well-known passage is suffused with unapologetic self-awareness, precisely articulated outrage, and sheer impatience. “Iwillbe as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject I do not wish to...

  7. 4 Putting Politics Back In: Rethinking the Problem of Political Abolitionism
    (pp. 77-92)

    No observer of Massachusetts politics had ever seen anything quite like the legislative session of 1843. The General Court, as the house and senate were formally known, took action on civil rights that more than justified the Bay State’s reputation as the most racially liberal state in the Union. Early in the session lawmakers repealed two laws, passed in 1705 and 1786, prohibiting marriage between Caucasians and peoples of color.¹ Legislators also passed a personal liberty law, popularly known as the Latimer Law, which denied federal officials tracking down fugitive slaves the use of Bay State jails and other public...

  8. 5 God, Garrison, and the Coming of the Civil War
    (pp. 93-118)

    The historical sociologist Max Weber coined a term that captures the spiritual iconoclasm of William Lloyd Garrison. That term isreligious virtuoso. According to Weber, religious virtuosos vividly sense God’s immediate presence in their daily lives, and they open their hearts to the fresh revelations the Almighty chooses to impart to them. Inspired by these sudden illuminations, they stride confidently into the public arena demanding ‘‘moral revolutions,’’ that is, spiritual transformations inspired by the Holy Spirit that will bring all human relationships into harmony with the will of the Lord.*

    Religious virtuosos deeply oppose what they take to be worn-out...

  9. 6 Garrison at Two Hundred: The Family, the Legacy, and the Question of Garrison’s Relevance in Contemporary America
    (pp. 119-128)

    In chapter 1 of this book, David Blight poses the question, “Is the United States of the early twenty-first century truly a safe place for William Lloyd Garrison and many of his ideas?” As a direct descendant of William Lloyd Garrison, I and many in my extended family were preoccupied by that question when we gathered in August 2005 for a bicentennial celebration of our ancestor’s birth. In fact, it was this celebratory event that led to the publication of this book.

    During that three-day weekend reunion in and around Boston, we realized that the historian Harriet Alonso’s revealing account...

  10. Contributors
    (pp. 129-130)
  11. Index
    (pp. 131-139)