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William Lloyd Garrison at Two Hundred$
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James Stewart

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780300136586

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300136586.001.0001

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Putting Politics Back In: Rethinking the Problem of Political Abolitionism

Putting Politics Back In: Rethinking the Problem of Political Abolitionism

(p.77) 4 Putting Politics Back In: Rethinking the Problem of Political Abolitionism
William Lloyd Garrison at Two Hundred

Bruce Laurie

Yale University Press

This chapter examines William Lloyd Garrison's strategies and tactics in politics in Massachusetts throughout the early and mid-1840s. It looks at how Garrison and his allies pitted their non-voting, perfectionist approaches to political issues of black equality against those of their hated abolitionist opponent, the Liberty Party. During the elections, the Liberal Party fielded its own candidates, resorted to electioneering, and formed coalitions with other influential political parties. The Liberty Party, the nation's first political party dedicated to emancipation, had a major role in the making of civil rights initiatives tackled by the Massachusetts General Court during the legislative session of 1843. When it came to issues vital to the interests of Massachusetts's African Americans, such as repealing laws that criminalized miscegenation and allowed racial segregation, members of the Liberty Party proved to be more effective advocates of abolitionism. The Liberty Party won the support of female abolitionists, who believed that the party offered opportunities to participate in genuine electoral politics that Garrison and his group could not.

Keywords:   William Lloyd Garrison, Massachusetts, Liberty Party, elections, emancipation, civil rights, African Americans, racial segregation, abolitionism

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