American Civil War for Kids - (em)The Liberator(/em), the abolitionist newspaper, William Lloyd Garrison Illustration

American Civil War for Kids - (em)The Liberator(/em)

Boston was the center of American antislavery activity. It was also the home of The Liberator, a newspaper started by William Lloyd Garrison. Garrison was only 26 years old at the time, but had already worked at various newspapers in the North. To him, none of the newspapers he had worked at were clear about their position on slavery. Garrison wanted to be very clear.

His newspaper was dedicated to the cause of the abolitionists, people who thought slavery should be abolished forever. Garrison most definitely was an abolitionist himself. In his very first issue, Garrison said, "I will not excuse - I will not retreat a single inch - AND I WILL BE HEARD."  Although he needed people to buy his newspaper to keep it going, he freely gave copies to any person of color who wanted one. In just a few years, Garrison was printing over 2,000 copies of his newspaper each week. Most copies were free, but he did have a few hundred paid subscriptions. He received donations. The Liberator never made any money, but it made a great deal of difference.

Garrison used his newspaper to campaign for Indian rights and women's rights. His major campaign, during 30 years of publication, was for the right of all people to be free of the shackles of slavery. Garrison relentlessly attacked church and government for not doing more to help the cause of enslaved people. He ran cautions in his newspaper, warning people of color to beware of kidnappers and slave catchers, who had been sent to Boston to bring back fugitive slaves. He explained the police had no choice but to arrest runaway slaves, because that was the law, and advised people of color to avoid conversations with the police.

The editors of Southern newspapers wrote nasty articles in their newspapers about The Liberator. Moderate abolitionists talked to him about perhaps softening his comments a bit; they were concerned his newspaper would anger people, which would not help their cuase. Garrison ignored them. He remained fiesty, blunt, informative, and heard! He retired at the age of 60, and printed his last weekly in December 1865. That was the year the Civil War was over. And it was the year Congress passed the 13th Amendment, ending slavery forever.

"I will be heard!" - Abolitionism in America

The Abolitionist Movement

Slavery in American for Kids

For Teachers

Free American Civil War Lesson Plans, Classroom Activities, Simulations, Debates, Role Play, Projects, Maps