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The Liberator (anti-slavery newspaper)

Liberator v.1, no.1, 1831

The Liberator (1831-1865) was an abolitionist newspaper founded by William Lloyd Garrison and Isaac Knapp in 1831.[1] Garrison co-published weekly issues of The Liberator from Boston continuously for 35 years, from January 1, 1831, to the final issue of December 29, 1865. Although its circulation was only about 3,000, and three-quarters of subscribers were African Americans in 1834,[2] the newspaper earned nationwide notoriety for its uncompromising advocacy of "immediate and complete emancipation of all slaves" in the United States. Garrison set the tone for the paper in his famous open letter "To the Public" in the first issue:

The Liberator faced harsh resistance from several state legislatures and local groups: for example, North Carolina indicted Garrison for felonious acts, and the Vigilance Association of Columbia, South Carolina, offered a reward of $1,500 ($25,957.20 in 2005 dollars) to those who identified distributors of the paper.[3]

The Liberator continued for three decades from its founding through the end of the American Civil War. Garrison ended the newspaper's run with a valedictory column at the end of 1865, when the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery throughout the United States. It was succeeded by The Nation.[4]

Composing stone of The Liberator


  • Woman’s rights advocacy 1
  • Contents Online 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Woman’s rights advocacy

The Liberator also became an avowed woman’s rights newspaper when the prospectus for its 1838 issue declared that as the paper’s object was “to redeem woman as well as man from a servile to an equal condition,” it would support “the rights of woman to their utmost extent.”[5] In January and February 1838, the Liberator published Sarah Grimké’s “Letters on the Province of Woman” in the paper, and later in the year published them in pamphlet form as [2]Letters on the Equality of the Sexes, and the Condition of Woman. During the following decades, the Liberator promoted women’s rights by publishing editorials, petitions, convention calls and proceedings, speeches, legislative action, and other material advocating woman suffrage, equal property rights, and women’s educational and professional equality. The Liberator’s printers: Isaac Knapp, James Brown Yerrinton (1800-1866) and James Manning Winchell Yerrinton (1825-1893), and Robert Folger Wallcut (1797-1884), printed many of the woman’s rights tracts used in the 1850s.

Contents Online

  • Internet Archive:
    • Liberator v.28, no.30, 1858
    • Liberator v.31, no.1, no.15, no.16, no.27, 1861
    • Liberator v.32, no.1, no.27, 1862
  • online archivesThe Liberator at Fair Use Repository, including archives of full-page scans of all issues from Vols. I-XV (1831-1845) and Vol. XXI (1851).
  • The Liberator Files collection maintained by Horace Seldon

All of the following articles were written by Garrison.

  • "To the Public", Garrison's introductory column for The Liberator, January 1, 1831.
  • "Truisms", January 8, 1831.
  • "Walker's Appeal", January 8, 1831.
  • "The Insurrection", Garrison's reaction to the news of Nat Turner's slave rebellion in Virginia, September 3, 1831.
  • "The Great Crisis!", December 29, 1832, one of Garrison's first explicit condemnations of the Constitution and the Union.
  • "Declaration of Sentiments", adopted by the Boston Peace Convention September 18, 1838, reprinted in The Liberator, September 28, 1838.
  • "Abolition at the Ballot Box", June 28, 1839.
  • "The American Union", January 10, 1845.
  • "On the Dissolution of the Union", June 15, 1855.
  • "The Tragedy at Harper's Ferry", Garrison's first public comments on John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, October 28, 1859.
  • "John Brown and the Principle of Nonresistance", the transcript of a speech given for a meeting in the Tremont Temple, Boston, on December 2, 1859, the day that John Brown was hanged, printed December 16, 1859.
  • "The War_Its Cause and Cure", May 3, 1861.
  • "The Liberator"Valedictory: The Final Number of , Garrison's closing column for The Liberator, December 29, 1865.
1850 Liberator masthead, designed by Hammatt Billings

See also


  1. ^ Boston Directory, 1831, Garrison & Knapp, editors and proprietors Liberator, 10 Merchants Hall, Congress Street 
  2. ^ Ripley, C. Peter (1991). The Black Abolitionist Papers: Vol. III: The United States, 1830-1846, p. 9. UNC Press. ISBN 0-8078-1926-3.
  3. ^ Clark, Carmen E., "Garrison, William Lloyd", in Vaughn, Stephen L. (ed.) (2007). Encyclopedia of American Journalism, p. 195. CRC Press. ISBN 0-415-96950-6.
  4. ^ The Anti-Slavery Reporter, August 1, 1865, p 187
  5. ^ Liberator, Dec. 15, 1837.


  • Streitmatter, Rodger (2001). Voices of Revolution. New York:  
  • FilesThe Liberator, Horace Seldon's collection and summary of research of The Liberator original copies at the Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts.

External links

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