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William Lloyd Garrison

An ardent abolitionist and supporter of the women’s suffrage movement, William Lloyd Garrison is perhaps best known as the editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, and as one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

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The Liberty Party

by George H. Smith on May 14, 2018

Smith discusses some circumstances that led to the formation of the abolitionist Liberty Party in 1840.

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Defending Slavery by Attacking Capitalists

by George H. Smith on Apr 27, 2018

Smith explains how some Southerners defended chattel slavery by contrasting it favorably with “wage slavery” in the North. 

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Moncure Conway’s Fall from Grace

by George H. Smith on Apr 13, 2018

How was the abolitionist Moncure Conway widely criticized by other American abolitionists for his peace proposal that would end the Civil War?

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More on Garrison and the Civil War

by George H. Smith on Mar 23, 2018

Smith explains why Garrison, an avowed pacifist, supported the North during the Civil War.

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Gradualism and the Republican Party

by George H. Smith on Mar 16, 2018

Smith discusses plans for the abolition of slavery by radical members of the Republican Party.

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Garrison on the Right of Secession

by George H. Smith on Mar 2, 2018

Smith discusses what Garrison meant by the “right of secession,” and how he reconciled his views with his condemnation of secession by the southern states.

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Lysander Spooner on Natural Law

by George H. Smith on Aug 18, 2017

Smith discusses Spooner’s secular theory of natural law and his belief that no legislation is valid unless it conforms to natural law.

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Are Judges Bound to Enforce Unjust Laws?

by George H. Smith on Jul 28, 2017

Smith details the scholarly debate between Lysander Spooner and Wendell Phillips over the constitutionality of slavery.

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The Constitution and Slavery

by George H. Smith on Jun 23, 2017

Smith discusses the schism in the abolitionist movement over the constitutionality of slavery, and he begins his analysis of Lysander Spooner’s arguments in The Unconstitutionality of Slavery.

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Christian Non-Resistance and the Hopedale Community

by David S. D’Amato on Jun 12, 2017

Adin Ballou’s Hopedale Community was committed to proto-libertarian positions on the state’s use of violence and the individual’s responsibility not to participate in state violence.

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Some Background on the Prohibition Movement

by George H. Smith on May 26, 2017

Smith explains some reasons why the temperance movement switched from advocating voluntary methods to calling for coercive prohibitory laws during the 1830s.

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Abolitionism: Slavery as Sin

by George H. Smith on Apr 14, 2017

Smith begins his explanation of why so many abolitionists joined the crusade for the legal prohibition of alcohol.