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The Liberator (1831-1865)


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The Liberator

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The Liberator was a weekly newspaper published by William Lloyd Garrison in Boston, Massachusetts. William Lloyd Garrison was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts in December, 1805. At thirteen years of age he began his newspaper career with the Newburyport Herald, where he acquired great skills in both accuracy and speed in the art of setting type. He wrote anonymous articles, and by age of twenty-one he published his own newspaper.

On January 1, 1831 the first issue of The Liberator appeared, with the motto: "Our country is the world - our countrymen are mankind." Garrison was a journalistic crusader who advocated the immediate emancipation of all slaves and gained a national reputation for being one of the most radical of American abolitionists. The Liberator denounced the Compromise of 1850, condemned the Kansas-Nebraska Act, damned the Dred Scott decision, and hailed John Brown's raid as "God's method of dealing retribution upon the head of the tyrant." The slaveholders in the South demanded the end of the incendiary paper and the state of Georgia offered a $5000 reward for Garrison's capture. The newspaper was a mighty force from the beginning and became the most influential newspaper in the antebellum, antislavery crusade.

After the end of the Civil War in December, 1865, Garrison published his last issue of the Liberator, announcing "my vocation as an abolitionist is ended." After thirty-five years and 1,820 issues, Garrison did not fail to publish a single issue. He spent his last 14 years campaigning for woman's suffrage, pacifism and temperance. He died in New York City on May 24, 1879.

The Liberator is complete and can be broken down into these seven parts:

  • PART I January, 1831 - December, 1835
  • PART II January, 1836 - December, 1840
  • PART III January, 1841 - December, 1845
  • PART IV January, 1846 - December, 1850
  • PART V January, 1851 - December, 1855
  • PART VI January, 1856 - December, 1860
  • PART VII January, 1861 - December, 1865

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