"William Lloyd Garrison: the Agitator"

explanatory Essay
1321 words
1321 words

Slavery has always been a controversial and debatable issue in the United States. No one attacked the African-American slavery of the southern states with greater vehemence than a group of young, radical abolitionists. Frustrated at the betrayal of the revolutionary promise that all forms of bondage would disappear in the new land and marshalling all the religious revivals that swept the country, abolitionists demanded no less than the immediate emancipation of all slaves. Bursting upon the American political system in the early 1830s, abolitionists not only opposed any reparation of slaveholders, but they also demanded full political rights for all African-Americans, North and South. The most prominent and spiteful of those abolitionists was William Lloyd Garrison. Born on December 10, 1805, he was the son of a drunken sailor who abandoned his family when Garrison was only three years old. His mother, a person of education and refinement plunged into bitter destitution during Garrison's childhood while she worked as a wage-slave and domestic servant. Garrison grew up in a poor Baptist household in Newbury port, Massachusetts, yet rose to national prominence as an advocate of the immediate abolition of slavery. At the age of nine, he worked for Deacon Bartlett in Newburyport, and later learned shoemaking at Lynn, cabinet making at Haverhill, and by 1818 received an apprenticeship with a printer and newspaper publisher. Soon after his apprenticeship ended, Garrison and a young printer, Isaac Knapp, purchased their own newspaper, the Newburyport Free Press. Although the newspaper existed for only six months, Garrison moved to Boston and found work as a printer and editor. Shortly after moving to Boston, he recei... ... middle of paper ... ... done it all." Frederick Douglass also affirmed Garrison's legacy when at a memorial service for Garrison he stated, "It was the glory of this man (Garrison) that I could stand alone with the truth, and calmly await the result." At twenty six years of age, Garrison had the courage to stand out against the majority of his countrymen and declare, "I am in earnest, I will not equivocate, I will not excuse, I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard."37 These stirring words, perhaps his most profound and memorable ever, made Garrison the most important of the antebellum abolitionists, and certainly the most influential of the American anti-slavery advocates. For these reasons, Garrison was often referred to as "the Agitator" whose persistence, perseverance, and determination to eradicate slavery from the United States turned him into an American legacy.

In this essay, the author

  • Narrates how garrison's outspoken stand in favor of immediate freedom of slaves made him unpopular with pro-slavery forces.
  • Explains that garrison's anti-slavery activism didn't end with his newspaper. he founded the american anti-slavery society, which demanded immediate emancipation and racial equality.
  • Explains how garrison's anti-slavery opinion of the united states constitution caused many of his white countrymen, fellow abolitionists, and former slave frederick douglass to alienate themselves from him and his organization.
  • Opines that two self-made men as determined and proud as these would likely have clashed.
  • Opines that in the crucible of movement politics and the charged atmosphere of american race relations, their ability to forge a decade-long working relationship is as noteworthy as their inability to sustain it for lifetime.
  • Analyzes how douglass and garrison were at odds because they both published anti-slavery newspapers that often rivaled against each other. both were strong supporters of the rights of women and fighters for the emancipation of slaves.
  • Explains that garrison resigned from the american anti-slavery society after the thirteenth amendment secured the formal abolition of slavery.
  • Describes how garrison devoted his time and energy to the immediate abolition of slavery, women's rights, and temperance.
  • Explains that garrison occupied a place as central in the history of the nineteenth century as that of dr. martin luther king, jr.
  • Explains that william lloyd garrison was the most influential antebellum abolitionist and an influential american anti-slavery advocate.
  • Explains that abolitionists opposed reparation of slaveholders and demanded full political rights for all african-americans, north and south.
  • Explains that william lloyd garrison was the most prominent and spiteful of those abolitionists.
  • Explains that garrison's speech, "address to the american colonization society," was one of the most important speeches of his career. he embraced the principles of colonization but rejected the gradualists notion of emancipation.

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