WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON
Freedom. This was the idea that was valued highly by William Lloyd Garrison and it was what he struggled to obtain during his life. William Lloyd Garrison can be considered the greatest freedom fighter ever to exist, never wavering from the many obstacles that he faced during his everyday life. Most of his seventy-four-year life span was used in the fight to conquer slavery in a way in which he deemed important: nonviolently. He believed that using violence would put him at the level of the slave sellers and buyers, so instead he used nonviolent methods such as newspapers and speeches.
William Lloyd Garrison was born on December 10, 1805 at Newburyport, a seaport that was located in Massachusetts. His parents, Abijah Garrison ( of French descent) and Fanny ( of Irish descent), were recent settlers of the British province. When William was only three years old, his family faced their first hardship. This is when William's father, Abijah, left Fanny with the kids, never to return. Before Abijah left, though, he bestowed Fanny with two other children, a son named James and a daughter named Elizabeth. Another tragedy the family faced occurred a little over a decade latter. This is when William's sister Elizabeth died. When Garrison went back to visit his mother after this unfortunate accident, for the very first time he was introduced to a negro slave. This is when his interest in slavery began but it was he was to be apart of the struggle to free the slaves for many more years to come.
William started his professional career as an apprentice printer. This is when he first showed his writing ability. Under the guise of a phony alias, A.O.B. (An Old Bachelor), he started submitting letters, that where later published, to the printing press in which he was working for. Later in his life, during his fight for freedom, William Lloyd Garrison met a young lady by the name of Helen Benson. Shortly after this, the two got married. On May 24, 1879, William Lloyd Garrison's life came to an end.
William Garrison started his anti-slavery campaign when he met another abolitionist by the name of Benjamin Lundy. "Lundy, being so opposed to slavery, went around the country preaching about the sins of slavery and how slavery should be dismembered in the United States of America." (Faber 43). At one of these meetings, this one in Boston, is where Garrison first met Lundy. They started to converse about the issue and Lundy, seeing that Garrison, too, was also devoted to the cause, proposed an idea he had thought of to help alleviate the problem. His idea was a newspaper that was focused on the liberating of slaves titled "Genius of Universal Emancipation." With his views, Lundy wanted to introduce his ideas slowly because he believed that slavery could not be abolished in a short time, but Garrison had another opinion. William decided to print the paper right away, writing about different aspects of slavery. Shortly after the paper began Garrison decided to write about a man named Francis Todd, a slave seller. In his paper, William wrote about how Todd's slave-ship and the man himself, calling Francis a "high-way robber" and a "murderer." Although slave dealing wasn't illegal, calling a man these titles were. He was arrested for these accusations and with Garrison in jail, the paper "Genius" faltered.
After William Garrison's brief jail time (in which he spent his time writing letters about slavery to the editors of many newspapers), William decided to try another paper, this time on his own. There was only one thing stopping him from accomplishing this: money. To get this paper off the ground William needed money, so Garrison decided to ask around everywhere for money. "William Garrison received aid from a negro sailor from Philadelphia which was enough to pay for twenty-seven subscriptions and another negro from New Haven, Connecticut, gave another substantial contribution which brought new hope for the paper." (Archer 43). This paper was to be called the "The Liberator." The first issue of "The Liberator" was published on January 1, 1831, and it wasn't very impressive. All William could afford for this paper was low-quality ink, a poor grade paper, and the paper itself consisted of four pages. Clearly, it wasn't the quality of the paper itself that made history, but the words located in the paper. In this paper, Garrison wrote "I am in earnest - I will not equivocate - I will not excuse - I will not retreat a single inch - AND I WILL BE HEARD." (Garrison 1)
Garrison's paper never became too successful, only selling about 2,400 copies at a single time. This led William to one of his final ideas: try to disassemble the union. Garrison started preaching the phrase "No union with slave holders." trying to get the peaceful separation of states. On July 4, 1840, to put an emphasis on his no union argument, he held up a copy of the constitution and set it a blaze.
With these actions and many others such as helping to organize the New England Anti-Slavery Society, Garrison helped bring an end to slavery. He lived to see the emancipation of the slaves although this outcome took many years to happen. To add to the victory over slavery, Garrison was paid public tribute by President Abraham Lincoln, a long standing barrier in the freeing of slaves.