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William Lloyd Garrison (1805—1879)


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Abolitionist weekly, was founded at Boston by W. L. Garrison. Its editorial policy was of a militant-pacifist type, denouncing slavery, calling for its immediate abolition and the enfranchisement of all American blacks, but having no specific program for attaining these ends. For years its editor proved the sincerity of the statement in the first issue: “I am in earnest-I will not equivocate-I will not excuse-I will not retreat a single inch— and I will be heard.” The paper inevitably attracted much opposition. Garrison was mobbed, his press destroyed, a law passed prohibiting its circulation to free blacks, a reward offered for the apprehension of anyone who circulated it in South Carolina, and a resolution passed in the Georgia senate offering a reward for the arrest of Garrison. In 1835 a South Carolina mob broke into the U.S. mails and burned copies of The Liberator, along with effigies of its editors. Garrison also aroused enmity by his espousal of liquor prohibition and pacifism. The paper printed the writings of the more educated free blacks as well as those of leading Abolitionists, but its circulation has been estimated as being about 1400 in 1837, and never more than 3000. The last issue of The Liberator was published upon the ratification of the 13th Amendment.

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