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William Lloyd Garrison was an American journalistic crusader who helped lead the successful abolitionist campaign against slavery in the United States.
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William Lloyd Garrison was born December 10, 1805 in Newburyport, Massachusetts. In 1830 he started an abolitionist paper, The Liberator. In 1832 he helped form the New England Antislavery Society. When the Civil War broke out, he continued to blast the Constitution as a pro-slavery document. When the civil war ended, he at last saw the abolition of slavery. He died May 24, 1879 in New York City.
Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison was born the son of a merchant sailor in Newburyport, Massachusetts on December 10, 1805. When Garrison was only three years old, his father Abijah abandoned the family. Garrison’s mother, a devout Baptist named Frances Maria, struggled to raise Garrison and his siblings in poverty. As a child, Garrison lived with a Baptist deacon for a time, where he received a rudimentary education. In 1814, he reunited with his mother and took an apprenticeship as a shoemaker, but the work proved too physically demanding for the young boy. A short stint at cabinetmaking was equally unsuccessful.
In 1818, when Garrison was 13 years old, he was appointed to a seven-year apprenticeship as a writer and editor under Ephraim W. Allen, the editor of the Newburyport Herald. It was during this apprenticeship that Garrison would find his true calling.
Through Garrison’s various newspaper jobs, he acquired the skills to run his own newspaper. After he finished his apprenticeship in 1826, when he was 20 years old, Garrison borrowed money from his former employer and purchased The Newburyport Essex Courant. Garrison renamed the paper the Newburyport Free Press and used it as a political instrument for expressing the sentiments of the old Federalist Party. In it he would also publish John Greenleaf Whittier’s early poems. The two forged a friendship that would last a lifetime. Unfortunately, the Newburyport Free Press lacked similar staying power. Within six months, the Free Press went under due to subscribers’ objections to its staunch Federalist viewpoint.
When the Free Press folded in 1828, Garrison moved to Boston, where he landed a job as a journeyman printer and editor for the National Philanthropist, a newspaper dedicated to temperance and reform.
In 1828, while working for the National Philanthropist, Garrison took a meeting with Benjamin Lundy. The antislavery editor of the Genius of Emancipation brought the cause of abolition to Garrison’s attention. When Lundy offered Garrison an editor’s position at Genius of Emancipation in Vermont, Garrison eagerly accepted. The job marked Garrison’s initiation into the Abolitionist movement.
By the time he was 25 years old, Garrison had joined the American Colonization Society. The society held the view that blacks should move to the west coast of Africa. Garrison at first believed that the society’s goal was to promote blacks’ freedom and well being. But Garrison grew disillusioned when he soon realized that their true objective was to minimize the amount of free slaves in the United States.
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