How did William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass fight against slavery?

Answer

In 1835, Garrison wrote in his first paper that his goal was to use words to move hearts and minds (he called it "moral suasion") to make people believe slavery was wrong. He did not believe in politics or in violence in any form. Garrison felt that no lasting change would happen unless people were persuaded to change their minds and believe not only that slavery was wrong, but that racial prejudice was wrong too. He would not have used the term "racial prejudice," but he strongly believed that there should be a social equality between the two races. Moreover, he put that belief into practice by doing all he could to have both races involved in his meetings, lectures and business enterprises. As a disciple of Garrison, Douglass also believed that the fight against slavery was first in battling against belief and prejudice. They fought through lecturing, writing, speaking to people in small groups, organizing "anti-slavery" societies where people could go to learn more, and doing non-violent activities that drew attention to their cause. For example, they would stand up in a church and start talking about anti-slavery until someone came to throw them out. Garrison was famous for burning a copy of the Constitution and the American flag as a demonstration that those symbols were corrupted by slavery. They distributed literature in the South until that literature began to be burned and banned everywhere. Even though Garrison was completely against violence, he reluctantly accepted the need for the Civil War (even accepting his son's enlistment). What he then wanted to do was to make sure the war became the instrument for freeing slaves. He sent his paper to every member of Congress throughout the war and made sure all of his anti-slavery activists remained dedicated to pushing the agenda of anti-slavery.

Updated on April 22, 2018

Original Article:

William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass: Racism in the Abolitionist Movement?
By Virginia Kearney
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