How Is Wendell Phillips Role As An Agitator?

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Throughout the sixth chapter of The American Political Tradition, Richard Hoftstader the author, refers to Wendell Phillips’ role in history as an agitator. For Wendell Phillips the role of an agitator was a profession, very different from that of a politician, throughout his course he could never be satisfied to the fullest. Hoftstader believes that Phillips’ role as an agitator “was not to make laws or determine policy, but to influence the public mind in the interest of same large social transformation” (Richard Hoftstader). However Richard Hoftstader contrasts the role of an agitator with the role of a politician. Wendell Phillips was much like William Lloyd Garrison. Both Garrison and Phillips were known to be agitators, and both were …show more content…
Both men were against slavery. Garrison was one of the leaders of the abolitionist movement and in the beginning Phillips only played a small part in the movement. In 1837 Phillips decided to dedicate his life to abolitionist agitations along with speaking and lecturing. “The Lost Arts”, one of his lectures was performed over two thousand times from Portland to St. Louis. As one of his tactics, Phillips’ formal speakings were priced high but as for his speaking against slavery, they were free. He wanted to encourage people to sit in for his anti slavery speakings. Soon enough he became the most “valuable acquisition of the New England abolitionists” (Hoftstader). William Lloyd Garrison took a different tactic approach. During 1831 to 1865 Garrison published a weekly news paper that focused on abolitionism,“The Liberator”. Garrison believed in the use of propaganda. Therefore, he would shout “Duty is ours and events are God’s”,”…All you have to do is set your slaves at liberty!” (William Lloyd Garrison). Both Phillips and Garrison were strongly against slavery. Phillips began to follow when Garrison claimed that the constitution was “cursed” and it was a “Union with Slaveholders”. Phillips insisted that no person should follow “this government based upon and acting for slavery” (Wendell Phillips). Garrison and Phillips eventually came to the conclusion to go separate ways in June 1865. Garrison felt that his purpose was fulfilled in the thirteenth amendment. Phillips is an agitator by profession. Therefore, he feels that society should continue to fight for suffrage and the freedman. When the Civil War ended Phillips was out of an occupation, he needed to find a new cause to agitate, it was natural. As for other abolitionists at this time, they returned to their regular lives. Abraham Lincoln was also in some ways similar to Wendell Phillips. As Phillips kept fighting for the free man, Lincoln was

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