When William Lloyd Garrison published the first issue of the Liberator in 1830, he completely altered the debate about abolition in the United States. Where previously the focus was on the American Colonization Association’s desire to promote voluntary freeing of slaves and their relocation to Liberia in Africa and the gradual abolition of slavery over fifty years to provide for an organized transition from slavery into freedom, Garrison called for the immediate end of slavery and granting of civil right to freed people. The American Anti-Slavery Society provided Garrison an outlet to vocalize his view to audiences in New England. As divisions over the role of women and African-Americans in the movement appeared, the AASS split. However, the organization had already created a powerful, if small following around the country where organizations looked for the newest anti-slavery and abolitionist publications. Always a minority, the organizers had to overcome widespread northern racism and anti-equality attitudes. As a reform movement, the leaders and followers also played a role in temperance, prison reform, and nativist organizations.

Image: Issue No.1, The Liberator, 1831. Library Company of Philadelphia.