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Historical Document
The Liberator: "To the Public"

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Through his newspaper, The Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison spoke out against slavery and for the rights of black Americans for 35 years. The tone of the paper was established in the first issue of the paper with Garrison's editorial entitled, "To the Public," in which he made the bold statement that he would "strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population." In other words, not only would he crusade for the emancipation of slaves, he would also work to give freed slaves citizenship with the right to vote. And he would do so with determination. . .

On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hand of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; -- but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. 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, a leader among American abolitionists, delivered his views with great conviction, as well as great foresight. "Posterity," he concluded in the editorial, "will bear testimony that I was right."

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Related Entries:
William Lloyd Garrison
Margaret Washington on moral suasion

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