Frederick Douglass And William Lloyd Garrison's Abolitionist Movement

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When the delegates to the Constitutional Convention gathered in Philadelphia in 1787, it was already understood that slavery was an issue with the potential to tear the new republic apart. At the convention, with the three-fifths compromise a precedent of compromise was established. Over the next half century, every time the nation was faced with controversy over the “peculiar institution” the proverbial can was kicked down the road by Congressional compromises between the northern states where slavery was well on its way to extinction by the dawn of the nineteenth century and the slaveholding south whose plantations produced the young nation’s cash crops. In 1860, after the election of the first American president running on a distinctly …show more content…
In 1831, this changed with the publication of The Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison’s anti-slavery newspaper. In 1832, would form the American Anti-Slavery society. Garrison’s strong principles and revered status among abolitionists of both races allowed him to shape much of the movement as a whole in his ideological vision, which in addition to abolition sought racial and gender equality and ardently opposed involvement in politics and forms of violence. Garrisonian abolitionism was too radical to elicit support from the vast majority of white Americans. By 1850, some prominent abolitionists including both Frederick Douglass and the Tappan brothers had defected from Garrison’s camp and began urging for political involvement. The Liberty Party running on a distinctly anti-slavery platform would win over 62,000 votes in the Presidential Election of 1844 (Abolition, Politics, and the Coming of the Civil War Lecture and …show more content…
Brown’s raid was a failure, but on the day of execution he ominously predicted that the crime would “never be purged away, but with Blood” (FOMM). A white abolitionist’s attempt to foment a slave insurrection and the necessity of federal troops in foiling him sent shockwaves across the nation.
John Brown’s Raid finished the frame through which the slave states would view the election of 1860. The support for the raid among a vocal, but small minority of northern whites and prominent Black Abolitionists like Frederick Douglas fueled southern fears of a “Black Republican” Conspiracy, despite the lack of abolitionist sentiment in the Republican platform. In the eyes of southern planters, the new Republican president Abraham Lincoln, elected without a single vote in the cotton states, despite his promises to the contrary, would fulfill the cause of John

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