William Lloyd Garrison

Antislavery Activist / Publisher

Born: 13 December 1805
Died: 24 May 1879
Birthplace: Newburyport, Massachusetts
Best known as:

Civil War-era abolitionist who published The Liberator

Publisher of the newspaper The Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison was a famously fierce opponent of slavery in the two decades preceding the American Civil War. From poor beginnings in Massachusetts, he got his start as printer, then writer and editor of his hometown paper, the Newburyport Herald in the 1820s. He joined the abolitionist movement, but his advocacy of the immediate abolition of slavery was more radical than their approach, and his insistence on broader reforms soon led him to form his own operation. He published the first copy of The Liberator in 1831, and in 1833 he co-founded the American Anti-Slavery Society. Until he folded The Liberator in 1865, Garrison was one of the most famous abolitionists in the U.S. and England, known for his uncompromising stance, fiery rhetoric and belief in "moral suasion" rather than violent opposition. For years he railed against the U.S. Constitution and its government, but when the Civil War erupted he supported President Lincoln, and during the war he encouraged the use of blacks as soldiers. After the war and the end of slavery, he closed down The Liberator and shifted his attentions to suffrage for women, the temperance movement and the rights of Native Americans.

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