William Garrison (1805–1879) was a key figure in the abolitionist movement. Garrison published the weekly paper the Liberator and demanded immediate emancipation for slaves. He declared slavery an abomination in God’s sight and vowed never to give up his crusade or be silenced. In 1833, Garrison organized the American Anti-Slavery Society. Early in his career, Garrison favored “moral suasion” (an appeal to the conscience of white Americans). Garrison worked with many other abolitionists, but some disagreed with his opinions in opposition to the clergy, his pacifism, and his efforts for women’s rights. Garrison declared in 1842 that northerners ought to secede from the Union since the Constitution protected slavery. During the 1850s, Garrison was less opposed to violence. He condoned violent resistance to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and praised John Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry. He supported the war against the southern states and after the Civil War continued attempting to create aid programs for free blacks until his death.

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