William Lloyd Garrison: Speech Relating to the Execution of John Brown

(1859)

William Lloyd Garrison’s self-described roles were those of agitator, moral censor, prophet, and “universal reformer.” His gifts were his extraordinary skills as an editorial polemicist and his resolve to follow the implications of his religious illuminations wherever they might lead him. In an age of rapidly multiplying editorial voices, Garrison proved to be a master of making himself (as he put it) “heard!”  In December of 1859, John Brown was hanged for his raid on the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in an attempt to start a movement to liberate enslaved African Americans. On the day he was hanged, Garrison delivered a spirited defense of Brown and his methods in his Speech Relating to the Execution of John Brown.

 

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William Lloyd Garrison (Library of Congress)

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