By the Rev. William F. Moore

Illinois State Historical Society Symposium

December 1, 2001

The Liberty Party was Lovejoy's element. He reveled in it and contributed much to its organization at the national, state and local levels. The Rev. Owen Glendower Lovejoy was minister of the Hampshire Colony Congregational Church of Princeton, Illinois; brother of Elijah, the slain martyr to the freedom of an abolition press; outspoken opponent to the Slave Power. In 1843 he was received with acclaim at the Buffalo Convention of the Liberty Party where he served as a member of the resolutions committee. At the age of thirty-five he was nominated at Elgin as a candidate for Congress on the Liberty Ticket in 1846. At the North-Western Convention of the Liberty Party in June 1846, the issue of broadening the Party platform to include such issues as free trade was debated. Lovejoy adamantly defended the Liberty Party objective of supporting the one-idea of ending slavery on the principles of Christianity and Democracy. The Liberty Tree quoted him:

"We must cling to the one idea. If we could not succeed with that, we might as well give up all hopes of success, and call on the Whigs to perform our funeral services... If the Liberty Party must adopt a narrow party policy or be ruined, let it gather about it the drapery of death and descend into its grave without the hope of resurrection." (1)

During 1847 and 1848 Lovejoy fervently embraced the Liberty Party. He polled an unprecedented one third of the Congressional vote in 1846, making his district the second strongest antislavery district in the country, next only to Congressman Joshua Giddings's district in the Western Reserve area of Northeast Ohio. He was invited as the Orator of the West to go to Massachusetts to give 50 lectures for the Liberty Party in the fall of 1846. But by August 9, 1848 at the Buffalo Free Soil Convention he permitted the Liberty Party to die and joined in coalition with the dissident Whigs and Democrats who were only against the extension of slavery. This paper is about this transformation of Owen Lovejoy that took place in 1847 and 1848.

To understand this process of change we will look at: (1) Lovejoy's personal background and its influence on his previous transitions in the antislavery movement, (2) the uniqueness of the Illinois geographical, social, and political context; (3) the divisions within the Liberty Party after the defeats of 1846, (4) issues in Illinois for Lovejoy before the Liberty Convention of 1847, (5) Lovejoy at the convention of 1847, (6) issues for Lovejoy before the Free Soil Convention in 1848, (7) the Free Soil Convention of 1848, (8) Conclusions.


Lovejoy's personal background

Lovejoy attended Bowdoin College from 1832 to1835 where he studied the classics, was reprimanded for attending the tavern, and especially enjoyed writing about the Muses. He left Bowdoin because of lack of funds due to the death of his father who was a bright, strict, Calvinist, Congregational minister. His mother chided him about his lack of faith.

"My Dear Child...it is my daily prayer that you may be endowed with that wisdom which is from above for I do know all arts and sciences besides will do you little good. Yes little good in comparison to the love of God...there are many good at speculation who are bunglers of application you know I have often applied that to you and I know you will continue so unless it pleases the blessed God to send down the influences of the holy spirit and turn your feet unto his testimonies." (2)

Shortly after receiving this letter, Lovejoy entered Bangor Theological Seminary, but left after a semester to teach in a public school, because he wasn't that satisfied with the teaching at Bangor and he needed income. His sisters teased him about "putting on the surplice" and becoming an Episcopalian minister and about his interest in young ladies. Sometime in early 1837 he arrived in Alton, Illinois, to assist and protect his eldest brother Elijah in the publishing of the Alton Observer, a Presbyterian newspaper that had grown consistently more antislavery. While there, he encouraged his brother to stay the course against the angry mobs that threatened him to either stop publishing the paper or to leave town. His mother had previously written Owen, "as to advice should I give you any, you know what it would be to love and fear God all the day long for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (3) Elijah's famous quote when a large public gathering demanded that he stop publishing antislavery material was, "But if by a compromise is meant that I should cease from that which duty requires of me, I can not make it and the reason is that I fear God more than I fear man." (4)

Lovejoy's first transformation into the abolitionist movement

A few days later while Owen and his younger brother John were protecting Elijah's wife and child with pistols, an angry mob, including leading citizens and church members, which was not stopped by local officials, attempted to burn the warehouse with Elijah's new printing press. In the process of checking the fire on the rooftop, Elijah was shot five times in the chest and stumbled back into the building saying that he had been shot and died. Owen recounted his response to this tragedy publicly in many gatherings with these words, "While I was beside the prostrate body of my murdered brother Elijah, with fresh blood oozing from his perforated breast, on my knees, alone before God and the dead, I vowed never to forsake the cause that was sprinkled with my brother's blood." (5)

With his older brother Joseph he went to New York City to work with the American Antislavery Society to write Elijah's Memoir. (6) He worked there with Joshua Leavitt, Theodore Weld and Lewis Tappan, courting one of Tappan's daughters. There he completed his transformation from a carefree college student to an ardent abolition worker.

In the conclusion of the book Owen addressed the Citizens of Alton, "You cannot bury his shed blood in the earth--it will have voice--it will plead louder than a thousand presses. From its every drop will spring an army of living antagonists...Vengeance belongs to another hour and a mightier hand." (7) He continued with this plea for their redemption,

"Surrender yourselves to the justice of your country. Atone for your great wickedness by furnishing to your country the only use of which you are longer susceptible, a practical and fearful warning. Commending you to this and to deep repentance before that Power which can pardon the penitent, and still maintain the majesty of law, I take my leave of you in commiseration and sorrow." (8)

The Memoir also had a statement from Alvan Stewart's remarks interpreting Elijah's murder to an Antislavery Convention in Rochester, New York in January of 1838, "those lips now rigid and unmoving shall no more...plead for the slave's relief from the oppressor's rod." (9) In 1839 he returned to Jacksonville, Illinois, to become an ordained Episcopalian and to promote the Memoir working as an Antislavery organizer in the Galesburg area, but ended up an abolitionist Congregational minister in Princeton, Illinois.

In this shift from student to ardent abolition worker Lovejoy passed through a powerful religious experience. His rage was redirected from the murderers and citizen accomplices to the root cause of the atrocity, to the slaveholding class that abused its hold on political power. His despair and discouragement at the loss of his brother and his great talents for the antislavery cause were transformed into a confident affirmation that Elijah would be far more effective in his death than in his life. Owen's deep grief was transferred to genuine sorrow for the lost citizens of Alton who could still justify their complicity in the murder of a good, capable, brave man. Owen's parents had been praying for such Grace to come to him for years. It came at a very great cost. But Owen Lovejoy, awakened to the power of trusting the redemptive Love of God, had a great impact on the ending of slavery in the United States.

Lovejoy's second transformation from Garrisonianism to the Liberty Party

In early 1837 his brother Elijah had helped establish the Illinois State Antislavery Society, committed to the Garrisonian goal of immediate abolition of slavery in the United States by using moral persuasion only. Owen Lovejoy's second transformation came in 1840 at the State Anti-Slavery Society meeting in Princeton when the Society refused to endorse political candidates.

The Rev. David Nelsen, mentor to Elijah, led a group after the Princeton meeting to form the Liberty Party in Illinois. Lovejoy organized that Party in Bureau County with "twelve disciples" none of whom deserted him for the next twenty-four years. (10) In January, 1842, Lovejoy preached on the text from Acts 5: 29, "Obey God Not Man" a sermon that included these words, "If there is any part of the Constitution or any Law of Illinois that requires us to break the laws of God, then I call on you my brethren to come and help me trample them in the dust." (11) In July of 1842 his sermon "Religion and Politics" prepared the congregation for Election Day. The text was from II Samuel 23:3: "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God." In it he said,

"Whatever the Bible, reason, justice and humanity requires of lawmakers...they require of every elector....Women, under the guidance of common sense, should be called on to exert any influence for the repeal of unjust laws...Every man that votes ought to feel that he is voting for the perpetuation of proslavery laws, and is as such responsible to God as though he was in the Halls of legislation, and said Aye to those laws which passed." (12)

At the State Liberty Party meeting in Chicago on May 27, 1842, Lovejoy produced a report with the Rev. John Cross and James H. Collins on "The Usurpation of Slavery" which said "the slave power was insatiable; instead of being local, slavery was becoming national; instead of being peculiar, it was becoming general." (13)

Owen Lovejoy made a major shift from moral persuasion of Garrisonianism to the electoral politics of the Liberty Party. By so doing he brought republicanism and religion together with a new potent formula. The idea that in a republic every elector is the sovereign, having the power to determine who shall rule, was wedded to the prophetic scriptural understanding of God's justice--he that rules must rule justly in the fear of God. One might have expected Lovejoy to attack the southern people for permitting slavery to exist, but from his twenties on, he pointed to the northerners to take their responsibility. We vote for the men who support slavery." These basic principles of Christianity and Democracy drove Owen Lovejoy the rest of his life to organize the Northern people politically to put an end to the slavery system in America.


Geographical contexts

It was easier to politically organize the small, new frontier communities of Illinois, especially since a number of communities began as religious antislavery colonies that came from the New England and Upstate New York, such as Galesburg, Jacksonville, Geneseo, Granville, and Princeton. (14) Illinois, being a border state with a large southern population living in tension with an influx of freed Negroes, the proslavery state legislature had passed restrictive "Black Laws." The response of the abolitionists was to ignore these laws by appealing to the "Higher Law" of God. They also encouraged open civil disobedience by assisting former slaves to escape to freedom in Canada. Lovejoy was a busy conductor on the Underground Railroad. Putting his conviction into action won him great respect among some people.

Being a new, developing area of the country, Illinois attracted young, strong independent people. It also attracted ministers eager to leave the established, staid, religious institutions of the East that blatantly supported the southern interests in slavery. With such independent people in the West, it was easier to reform these churches and still stay within their tradition, especially New School Presbyterians and Congregationalists. In 1844 that Illinois Association of the Congregational church passed a resolution that all churches should consider slavery a "heinous sin against the laws of God." (15) Lewis Tappan helped establish 115 such new churches in Illinois.

Social Context in Illinois

Early political activity against the expansion of slavery in Illinois succeeded in defeating an 1824 referendum to pass a proslavery Constitution. Garrisonian moral persuasion was never seriously considered to be the only tactic. Frontier women were partners with their husbands both in work and in forming antislavery societies. Women played significant roles in the State Liberty Party. (16)

Political context in Illinois

The event of Elijah Lovejoy's murder was widely known in Illinois. In a Lyceum Lecture of 1838, Lincoln called for respect for law in order to prevent further mob violence. The citizens of Alton saw it lose population and possibilities for future growth. These were seen as judgment upon the slaveholding society, just as the decline of the economy, culture, and population in the South in general was a judgment on the backward ways of the slave society. Elijah Lovejoy not only symbolized the loss of the freedom of the press, but he also came to symbolize the negative consequences of the expanding influences of the proslavery abuses of power. (17) Owen Lovejoy adroitly spread that understanding and motivated many into the cause of ending slavery.

The talented and committed political antislavery leadership of Illinois focused on communication and organization. Zabina Eastman, editor of the antislavery newspaper for the Northwest, the Western Citizen, provided the communication. Ichabod Codding and Owen Lovejoy, both trained by the early antislavery religious organizer Theodore Weld, mobilized the people and helped organize local and statewide, antislavery societies, churches, temperance leagues, educational institutions, and four different political parties--the Liberty Party, the Free Soil Party, the Free Democratic Party and the Republican Party. These leaders could match the talent of the Old Guard Easterners led by Tappan, Leavitt, and Stanton, and the Upstate New Yorkers led by Stewart, Goodell, Smith, and the Ohio contingent led by Chase, Bailey, and Birney. Lovejoy knew them all.


The Liberty Party was the creature of the religious political reformers of the "burned over district" of Upstate New York with the support of others who had come to the conclusion that direct political action was the only way to end slavery. The first meetings were held there with Myron Holly, Alvan Stewart, Gerrit Smith and James Birney in the late 1830's, which resulted in the nomination of James Birney as its presidential candidate in 1840.

The Garrisonian policies

Both the impetus for and the divisions within the Liberty Party grew out of frustration with Garrisonian policies. (1) Religious perfectionism insisted that slavery was a sin against God and that the sinning slaveholders should be persuaded to repent and release their slaves immediately, but only through the use of moral persuasion and never with the use of physical resistance. Perfectionism advocated non- participation in corrupted secular governments, and the commitment to universal righteousness of freedom and equality for all, especially Negroes and women. (2) National disunionism grew out of interpreting the Constitution to be a proslavery document. By disuniting oneself from a corrupted constitution that permitted slavery, one was free from the complicity of that sin. (3) Anti-clericalism mocked the clergy and the churches because they continued to sustain the practice of slavery by their silence and avoidance of adhering to the word of God.

Owen Lovejoy was involved in some of these commitments with his brother Elijah who helped form the state American Antislavery Society in Illinois and whose newspaper advocated the support of its petition drives. His brother Joseph was an active Garrisonian in Maine. His mother Betsy read the Liberator regularly, often gesturing with her right fist raised, saying, "Right, Garrison, right!" (18) But after ten years with few conversions, James Birney's turnaround by Theodore Weld being the great exception, with moral persuasion met by mob violence, and with the gag rule suppressing discussion of slavery in Congress, the need for political action became evident.

Most of the positions of the different factions within the Liberty Party were variations on the policy themes of Garrison; most by vehemently opposing them, others selectively espousing them, especially the commitments that slavery was a sin against God and the equality of rights for all. Leaders from different sections of the country, facing different social and political realities, and having different personalities and religious orientations chose their own cluster of issues from Garrisonian Abolitionism and established their own unique flavor of political abolitionism. They fell into three basic factions.

The Eastern Old Guard Faction

The Easterners were committed to free, save, and uplift the individual Negro, who they affirmed were made in the image of God. These believers of the Old Guard led by Lewis Tappan worked with the Christian church through benevolent groups and personal philanthropy, thus fulfilling their Christian duty to care for their neighbor and to gain their own soul. Because of their disagreement with Garrison's perfectionism, disunionism and anticlericalism, and not primarily because of Garrison's support for women's rights, these leaders broke away and formed the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in New York City in 1840. (19) Lovejoy knew Tappan, Leavitt and Weld. He had written Birney in 1838 that his brother Elijah had "done more by his death, than living and unopposed he could have done in a century." (20) Lovejoy in the 1840's sent money from his church to Tappan for the victims of the Amistad affair. Tappan financed some of Charles Gandison Finney's buildings at Oberlin College and financed the publishing of the National Era; both were crucial contributions to the success of the antislavery movement.

Upstate New York Protestant Political And Church Reformers Faction

This region was ripe for the early formation of the Liberty Party, because of the rise of the industries on the Erie Canal, which brought cultural and social changes to working class people living away from the family. This rise of individualism and the need for individual reasonability spawned a new religious approach that engaged the whole Upstate area. (21)

Charles Grandison Finney was the leader of this rising evangelical enterprise. He preached that an individual had the freedom to make his own decision to receive and accept the Grace of God in Jesus Christ. This emphasis on the free will of the human being to find his own salvation from sin was a radical new emphasis in religion. Orthodox Calvinism claimed that only God Almighty could make the decision of who was saved and who wasn't. Orthodox Calvinists criticized Finney most for his disinterest in original sin. He claimed that once saved a person could be sanctified, no longer having a propensity for evil. This tenet became known as Oberlin Perfectionism. A saved person could become righteous altogether through piety, self-discipline and strong willed character. Persons who chose to repent and become sanctified were much more sobered, timely and ethical than other employees. Grateful employers with their financial support added to the evangelical movement's rapid rise. Central Upstate New York became known as the "burned over district" because Finney's fiery sermons produced the heat of guilt on those on the "Anxiety Bench" to change their ways and gain salvation and sanctification.

William Goodell became the eventual leader of the Upstate New York, Protestant, political, church reformers--the vanguard of the social gospel movement of the next century. Strongly influenced by Finney's approach, Goodell went further and affirmed that to be entirely sanctified one was to have a direct connection to political abolitionism. If you were saved you would work for the building of the kingdom here on earth in order that Christ would come and reign forever. To build the kingdom you would be committed to end the evil of slavery politically through the social action of the Liberty Party. "Goodell linked ecclesiastical abolitionism with political abolitionism." (22) This in one sense was a form of perfectionism-- the human ability to bring in the Kingdom here and now with God's help. Yet Goodell went out of his way to make clear that Orthodox tenets were necessary: affirmations of the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the authority of the Bible, a regenerative experience and, most importantly, the persistence of human depravity even among those who were entirely sanctified.

This combination of Orthodox and Evangelical religious beliefs was similar to Owen Lovejoy's, especially the direct relation between "Religion and Politics" [the title of the sermon he preached in June 1842,] and the recognition of the endurance of human depravity. In an 1858 biographical statement in the Chicago Tribune Lovejoy wrote, "I proclaim the everlasting evangel of the Fatherhood of God, the Sonship of Christ and the brotherhood of man."

Another distinct feature of Upstate New Yorkers and of William Goodell was the great wave of church reform. This reform resulted from Finney's preaching, from the hostile responses to him from conservative churches, and from a growing republican sense of the consent of the governed. People were tired of preachers having the authority to tell them what to do and what to believe and so the concept of the churches as free associations governed by the people had a very rapid rise. They were known as "Come Outer" churches that left the major denominations. They went by various names, including Free Will Baptist, Free Congregationalist, Wesleyan Methodist, and Protestant Methodists. There were hundreds of these churches. Goodell ministered to one of them in Richmond, New York, and gave up the editorship of the antislavery newspaper The Friend of Man to write the Intelligencer, a newspaper dedicated to ecclesiastical abolitionism and church reform. Most of the voters for the Liberty Party in Upstate New York came from these churches. (23) Lovejoy's experience was similar in fostering an Illinois Congregational Association in which all churches voted to consider slavery a sin against the laws of God. Yet Lovejoy's church reform was different in that he worked within the denominational structure and actively used its connections to promote the antislavery cause. He helped establish numerous such churches. (24) Though he would chide, scold, embarrass and humor the ministers and the churches outside his Association who were silent on the slavery crisis, he didn't condemn, hate, castigate their names or hope for their destruction or blame them solely for the continuation of slavery, as Birney and Garrison would sometimes do. He worked to educate the clergy and assist them to get on board for the cause.

Alvan Stewart was another major player with the Upstate Leaders of the Liberty Party, who twice was elected president of the Liberty Convention. He was a devoted Christian and a congenial man with a pungent sense of ridicule and satire, and ability to relate and connect with his audience, a mentor to Lovejoy's persuasive style of public speaking and logical thinking. He interpreted the Constitution of the United States as an antislavery document. So he was under no burden of being labeled a disunionist--one advocating that the North should secede from the Union of the Untied States and write a pure Constitution, as Garrison proposed. The Union, beloved by the public, was based on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The Liberty Party benefited from the disassociation with the troublesome idea of disunionism.

As an educated and well-read lawyer, Stewart based his case for the Constitution as an antislavery document on the concept of Natural Law assumed in the Declaration of Independence, that all men have inalienable rights. He claimed that the Constitution in its due process provision protected those rights. (25) This concept of natural law developed by Thomas Jefferson had widespread support in the public mind. Lovejoy learned about it from his mentor Elijah. He studied it at Bowdoin College. In Lovejoy's sermons and speeches he referred not only to the religious authority of the Bible but also to reason, justice and humanity. He held to natural philosophy even though it was one of the targets of his mother Betsy's chastising him about "speculation."

James Birney helped found the Liberty Party and was its first Presidential nominee. He freed his slaves, left his Alabama plantation, and started a new life in Cincinnati. There he published the Philanthropist and worked with the abolitionists Salmon Chase and Gamaliel Bailey. He encouraged the New York Upstaters with his pamphlets against the Christian churches and the Slave Power. In accepting the nomination of the Party in 1840, he wrote,

"The security--of life--of liberty--of civil and religious privileges--of the rights of conscience--of the right to use our own faculties for the promotion of our own happiness--of free locomotion all these...for the last six years, we have seen invaded one after another--till the feeling of security for any of them has well nigh expired... Free speech and debate on the most important subject that now agitates the county, is rendered impossible in our national legislature, the right for the people to petition Congress for a redress of grievances is formally abolished by their own servants! And shall we sit down and dispute about the currency, about a sub-treasury or no sub-treasury, a bank or no bank, while such outrages on constitution and essential rights are enacting before us." (26)

Thus the first statements of the Liberty Party were on the encroachment of basic rights by the Slave Power. Elijah's death had crystallized this reality across the nation. James Birney, Joshua Leavitt, Henry Stanton, Owen Lovejoy and others in the American Antislavery Society movement previously had been exposing the excessive abuses of the Slave Power. The first platform fudged the question of the constitutionality of slavery and simply pledged the party to oppose slavery to the full extent of legislative power under the constitution, with particular emphasis upon prohibiting slavery in the District of Columbia and stopping the interstate slave trade. Encroachment was one of Owen Lovejoy's favorite topics, whether referring to his murdered brother, exposing the Illinois unjust black laws as contrary to God's law, or maintaining a high profile as conductor on the Underground Railroad, frequently ending up in court. Exposing the encroachment of rights for the North was a core concept of the Liberty Party and for Owen Lovejoy who relished this aspect of his calling.

The Ohio Coalitionists Faction

Salmon Chase with his bright legal mind, his personal ambition and antislavery commitment, led the Coalitionists in Cincinnati Ohio. It was the largest industrial and cultural city in the West, on the Ohio River just across from the slave state of Kentucky. It had a great mixture of people including free blacks, avid proslavery promoters, successful merchants and workingmen, and a contingent of religious antislavery people. The large influx of fugitive and supposedly fugitive slaves was a source of constant conflict. Chase came to power as an abolitionist by defending fugitive slaves in court. Though he didn't hold the Fugitive Slave Law unconstitutional on the basis of natural law, or God's "Higher Law", he did argue in a number of fugitive cases that the fugitive law was only enforceable by states that chose to enforce it.

In December 1841 Chase addressed the Liberty Party on his interpretation of the Constitution. (27) "The Constitution found slavery and left it a State institution...It did not make it a national institution." From this came the well-used and effective response to the charge of disuionism. "Freedom is national; slavery is sectional." Like Stewart he claimed that the Fifth Amendment protected person's rights and included Negroes as persons; and furthermore that this section was included in the Constitution to protect Negroes in places under federal authority.

By 1842, when organizing the principles of the Ohio State Liberty Party, Chase realized religious sentiment was a powerful force within the Party. He believed that radical religious positions had a negative effect on the growth of the Party. Though personally a regular churchgoer and rigorous Bible reader, Chase didn't believe the Bible was a good political textbook for the Party. He shared Upstate New Yorkers' ultimate goal to end slavery, but he did not share their goal to make the government ethically perfect by Christian standards. He considered the tactics of advocating immediate abolition and racial equality to be counter productive in attracting new members into the Liberty Party. (28)

Chase made a distinction between "abolition, which seeks to abolish slavery everywhere by moral argument, persuasion, remonstrance and the like, and antislavery which aims at separation of the federal government from slavery and its deliverance from control by the Slave Power." (29) He claimed the former a moral objective and the latter a political objective. When Chase suggested to Joshua Leavitt that the Liberty Party formally disown the label "abolitionist", the Easterners and the Upstaters found it completely unacceptable. Leavitt boldly asserted, "I am an Abolitionist...and expect to be one...until slavery is actually abolished."

Unlike most Liberty Party leaders who were more interested in sacrificing self in behalf of the cause, or who feared of the corrupting temptations of political office, Salmon Chase hankered for political power to serve others and his own ambitions, as his future actions confirmed. To win, one needed to have influential men on one's side. In 1844 Chase reached out to elected Whig and Democratic leaders who had some sympathies with the cause, such as Joshua Giddings, William H. Steward and Thaddeus Stevens and others, with no practical results at that time. Meanwhile men like Birney and Tappan accused him of lacking religious duty and being opportunistic.

Owen Lovejoy was like Chase in this regard; he was willing to put himself on the political line. He enjoyed the battle and he liked to win. He ran for Presidential Elector for Birney in '44, for Congress in '46 and '48, and for Illinois Constitutional delegate in '47, finally winning in '54 for Illinois House of Representatives and then winning four times for Congress. Lovejoy's tactic was not to form associations with other political figures but to develop his own political base, taking the issues directly and firmly to the public.

In the early Liberty Party Conventions of 1843 and 1846, Chase and Lovejoy worked together on the resolutions and were well acquainted with each other's emphases. Lovejoy stressed practical, grassroots democratic organization in keeping with the principles of American republicanism. Chase stressed attacking slavery with the Constitutional authority of the government. Both wanted to defeat the political power of the slaveholding class.

Gamaliel Bailey of Cincinnati, Ohio, supported Chase's practical constitutional arguments as well as his commitment to build a political coalition that shared power with Whig and Democratic leaders who supported the Wilmot Proviso. By 1847 Bailey was disgusted with the Liberty Party leaders' reluctance to assist in coalition building. The defunct Liberty Party National Committee, weakened by its ailing chairman Alvan Stewart, was now in the hands of Joshua Leavitt, with the help of Henry Stanton and Joseph Lovejoy who was hired to assist Leavitt with the publication of the Emancipator. In their eagerness to have a member of the Liberty Party as a Presidential nominee, they convinced the National Committee on an 8 to 5 vote to hold a nominating convention in early June of 1847. Bailey and Chase were disheartened. They believed that delaying the nominations until after the Whigs and Democrats had chosen proslavery candidates would bring more Conscience Whigs and more Wilmot Proviso Democrats into the coalition. Bailey wrote in the Era that the convention wouldn't come to anything but he wouldn't get in its way. However, the Upstaters in New York under Goodell came up with their own meeting of Liberty Party people. They advocated that slavery was unconstitutional in the states where it existed, and therefore should be eradicated immediately in the South. They advocated that Negroes and women should be treated equally before the law and that the Party should take stands on other issues of the day, especially free trade. After that Upstate New Yorkers meeting, the Easterners and Leavitt realized they needed the National Era's support. Leavitt, Stanton, Joseph Lovejoy, John Greenleaf Whittier and Lewis Tappan met with John Hale, United States Democratic Senator from New Hampshire, and found that he shared the basic Liberty Party principles enough to be a desirable presidential candidate for the Liberty Party ticket. This appeased Bailey enough to give reluctant support for the early spring Convention in 1847. (30)

Thus the latent divisions within the Party were now defined for confrontation. The Ohio political coalitionists wanted a later date for nominations and a broader platform on political issues such as free trade, and open participation of political leaders of other parties. The Upstate New York religious and political reformers wanted a commitment to immediate abolition everywhere and equality for everyone with perfectionist's values of equality and justice, nominations in the spring of 1847, and a broader platform on other issues than slavery. The Eastern Old Guard wanted nominations in 1847 and no expanded platform on either egalitarian reform or political issues, but were willing to expand politically to include the outsider, New Hampshire Democrat John Hall, as presidential nominee of the Liberty Party.


The Issue of the Wilmot Proviso

After the poor results of the election of 1846, the Liberty Party was disheartened. The South had abused its power again by trying to annex Texas as a slave state and the United States was at war with Mexico. Congressman David Wilmot, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, placed a provision on an appropriations bill for the Texas territory, which required that none of the funds could be used for the extension of slavery. The positive effect of that action was that it publicized, clarified and identified non-extension officials and separated them from proslavery officials. In Illinois there was a debate within the Liberty Party. The negative impact of the proviso was that it promoted the limited goal of non-extension and not the Liberty Party goal of abolition of slavery.

The issue of non-extension of slavery first came up in Illinois with the defeat of a proposal to change the state Constitution to allow slavery in 1824. Another downside of the Wilmot Proviso was that it sent some voters away from the Liberty Party and back to their former political parties to support candidates who supported the non-extension of slavery.

The issue of one-ideaism

The Illinois Liberty Party was firmly committed to the one idea principle of ending slavery politically. In February of 1847 in a large, harmonious, enthusiastic Liberty Party convention in Elgin, it resolved, "We welcome upon the broad platform of the Liberty Party, without reference to sect, creed, or party views on other political subjects all who have a vote to give for the abolition of slavery." (31) Lovejoy gave a rousing speech that was well received. Caroline Gifford wrote her father, "If the people of Elgin can withstand what he has said and still cling to their parties, I cannot think what they are made of." (32)

The issue of Garrisonian Perfection

The growth of Garrisonianism in Ohio and Michigan led Eastman to write a stunning critique of it. "Whenever Garrisonism places its hand, there it finds work to destroy. It forgets the fact that all things human partake of imperfections of human nature--that an immediate eradication of every imperfection in mankind, is the destruction of humanity itself." (33) This acknowledged the on going struggle for Illinois antislavery leaders to disassociate themselves from Garrisons tenets on perfectionism, anti-clericalism and disuionism. The Elgin conference resolved, "We reject as untrue and evil in its tendency, the dogma of the so-called Garrison, or non-resistant abolitionists--that the only hope for the emancipation of the slave is the destruction of the American Churches, and in the dissolution of the Union." (34) The convention went on to say, "We recognize the principles of Christianity as the only sure foundation on which we may hope for permanent reform in this or any other cause."

The Issue of a Broad Platform in the Liberty Party

In March Lovejoy received a letter from his Chicago friend and fellow Liberty Party advocate, James Collins, who had successfully defended him in Court in Princeton on the charge of harboring two fugitive slaves, Agnes and Nancy. Collins was convinced that a larger platform was necessary for success. He was sorry to have missed the Elgin Convention and reported that some of his Chicago friends who supported free trade felt they didn't receive fair treatment. He supported, "free trade, and direct taxation as a consequence, the abolition of the army, the dismantling of the navy ... and a dozen other things as further consequences must receive our attention." (35) He previously had supported giving public land to settlers on the condition of actual occupancy, a growing issue in the Chicago immigrant communities.

Eastman gave considerable space to C. T. Gaston to express his strong opinion that the Liberty Party's rallying point was not the ending of chattel slavery but equal rights for all, and also to Seth Paine for his strong support for the free trade resolution in the Liberty Platform. Eastman invited readers to respond to the debate on the platform. Goodell and the New York Upstaters were advocating racial equality and free trade. Eastman also published material supporting the Eastern Old Guard, such as the entire resolutions of the 1843 Liberty Party. Just before the convention in an editorial he supported the Old Guard position of returning to the 1843 principles. (36) He concluded that the Liberty Party, placing itself on the broad principles of true Democracy and pure Christianity, "will demand the absolute and unqualified divorce of the General Government from Slavery and also the restoration of equality of rights among men in every state where the party exists or may exist." (37)

The Issue of Coalition with other Political Parties

Lovejoy was a candidate for the Illinois Constitutional Convention. He lost in May of 1847, but only because the Whigs and Democrats united to defeat him. Eastman pointed this out in the May 14th, 1847 Western Citizen. Lovejoy's biographer Edward Magdol notes Eastman failed to comment that another Liberty man had won in a coalition with the Whigs. (38) Thus demonstrating to Illinois members of the Party the practicality of adopting the thinking of the Ohio coalitionists, something which they were having difficulty accepting.


Lovejoy went to the Convention painfully aware of the volatility of the divisive factions within the party and the fluidity of the issues in Illinois. He loved the Liberty Party. He had made many contributions to it and had been well received by it. He knew the cause needed to reclaim its basic principles and to include people of all the factions in order to continue successfully: the Eastern Old Guard's religious and benevolent devotion to care for the individually oppressed person, even if that dutiful calling seemed sometimes more committed to one's own salvation; the New York Upstaters with their ecclesiastical abolitionism of relating sanctification with direct political action in the Liberty Party even if their preoccupation with "righteousness" could sometimes become fearful withdrawal from the conflict; the Ohio Coalition's use of the authority of the Constitution to stop the excesses of the political slave system and their call for clear practical political goals to win elections, even if the personal ambition and self-aggrandizement seemed sometimes to take priority. However, Lovejoy disagreed at this time that some other wider based political organization should replace the Liberty Party. So like Eastman he believed all factions supported the basic principles of the Liberty Party and that the differences were basically ones of personality. However, the personal commitments about religion and political tactics were too big to patch over. Lovejoy tried to minimize the differences but to no avail.

First Agenda Item: to postpone nominations until spring of 1848

Eastman, in the Western Citizen, had supported the wisdom of waiting until spring of 1848 for the Convention. Lovejoy joined Chase, Leavitt, Stanton and William Jay in a vigorous effort to postpone nominations. (39) Lovejoy supported the postponement not so much to widen the list of candidates or to widen the base of the party but in order to delay the impetuous and divisive decisions that were on the horizon. The move for postponement lost 142 to 72. (40)

Second agenda item: Speeches by Gerrit Smith and Owen Lovejoy

Gerrit Smith presented a powerful speech against coalescing with other political parties, and in favor of the Party taking positions on a broader political platform and the reform of government. The Western Citizen reported,

"He [Smith] concluded with an eloquent appeal to the Convention to show that by their principles they were not only ready to strike the shackles from the Negro, but to elevate him and all mankind to a perfect political and social equality; to give to all mankind a perfect civil government that should be a fulfillment of our Savior'swords 'to do all in righteousness'." (41)

Lovejoy spoke next. The Western Citizen reported,

"He contended that the Liberty party was and ever has been considered a permanent party. He combated the idea that there were differences in the path. There might be in form--in time--in ideas of expediency, but all were agreed upon the principles advocated by Mr. Smith. He spoke at much length." (42)

Another newspaper commented, "Mr. Owen Lovejoy, in a felicitous manner, replied to Mr. Smith, though some thought his admissions were too great." The implication of that report was that Lovejoy supported some of Smith's points more than the majority of the convention did. Lovejoy was torn for he was still then a one-idea man, not endorsing taking positions on other political issues that Gerrit Smith advocated. Yet he had great respect for Smith and his religious orientation to the political cause. The Eastern Old Guard still supported the one-ideaism of the Party and that eventually carried the day.

Third agenda item: the unconstitutionality of slavery

Smith's forces placed three different resolutions before the Convention. All dealt with the Constitution as a document that supported the unconstitutionality of slavery, which would make advocacy for abolition of slavery in the South a major plank of the Party. This vote was a significant turning point for Owen Lovejoy. He did not support Goodell and Smith's interpretation of the Constitution, because the reality was that slavery already existed there by virtue of local law and to abstractly claim it didn't exist would be impractical and create unnecessary irritation among prospective adherents to the Party. Here Lovejoy abandoned his idealistic goals of ending slavery in the South at this time and focused on winning elections to defeat the Slave Power. Many friends thought he had betrayed the cause for the sake of expediency.

Fourth agenda item: Election of Presidential Nominees

Lovejoy was now caught between his brother and good friends Joshua Leavitt and Lewis Tappan who were supporting John Hale for Presidential candidate and, on the other side, the Upstate New Yorkers who supported Gerrit Smith as nominee. We don't know whom Lovejoy supported. We do know Hale won 103 to 44. Most likely he voted for Smith; for Lovejoy was not ready for coalescing with other parties. He also admired Smith's religious and financial contributions to the antislavery movement. (43) Next, Lovejoy was nominated as the vice -presidential nominee, probably in an attempt to balance the ticket with a Smith sympathizer who was also identified with the Old Guard. He led on the first ballot 76 to 72 but conceded to Leicester King, a seasoned leader of the Ohio Liberty Party. By so doing, Lovejoy thus eliminated a contested battle between Old Guard and the Ohio Coalitionists.

Results of the Liberty Convention of 1847

After the convention Smith withdrew from the Liberty Party with Goodell. Their Liberty League held another convention and nominated Smith for President and this time he accepted. The League reaffirmed the Nineteen Articles on political and religious issues and espoused their doctrines of immediate abolition in the slave states and equal rights for Negroes. It was then clear they were the Radical Abolitionists, a name Goodell took for their newspaper. Concerned about whether to accept the nomination and become identified with extremists, Hale waited two months before making up his mind. When the radical Liberty League withdrew from the Liberty Party and nominated its own candidate, Hale felt he could accept the nomination. Chase was now pleased to have an ex-Democrat and major public official to be the Party nominee and to have the religious radical abolitionists out of the Liberty Party. He believed these events would reduce the resistance of Wilmot Democrats and Conscience Whigs to join in a future coalition, though he preferred a broader platform for them to run on.


Lovejoy returned to Illinois committed to using the strengths of all the factions of the Liberty Party and was nominated without opposition as candidate for Congress in 1848.

He began an aggressive campaign with the help of the State Liberty Party. He made a major speech to a large crowd on the Court House steps in Chicago, which responded enthusiastically to his comments on land reform--exempting the homestead from seizure for debt and refusing the transfer of land without the consent of the wife. On another Chicago issue, river and harbor improvements, he said, "Our lakes are inland seas--they bear upon their bosom the commerce of the seas, and like those of other seas, their harbors should be improved." (44) He was listening to the concerns of the "free farmers scattered across the northern prairies and to the shippers and merchants of Chicago and the towns of central Illinois." (45) One of his innovative techniques to engage large crowds was to present the popular antislavery folk singer, James Perry from Rochester, New York, at his speeches.

James Collins and friends wrote a formal letter in the Aurora Guardian asking Lovejoy for his positions on political issues. In answering them in the newspaper he created his own version of the boarder platform. Eastman helped spread the word. On July 18, 1848 the Western Citizen used Lovejoy as an example of a Liberty Party man who could have more than one idea, and published his answers to questions raised in the Aurora Guardian.

"(1) I hold in the clear and precise language which is at once familiar and dear to the American people...' all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights'... Can a state enslave a man there? [Heaven] Are they not free?--emancipated by the voluntary act of the master himself? In a word, I am in favor, in the language of Franklin of 'going to the verge of the Constitution in opposition to slavery.'
(2) I think Congress ought to open the public lands in limited quantities without money and without price, to actual settlers....
(3) I am in favor of the extension and the inalienability of the homestead....
(4) I believe free trade and direct taxation for the necessary expenses of government to be the true theory of government...
(5) I am in favor of the entire abolition of the franking privilege as present allowed to members of Congress, and the reduction of postage on letters to two cents each, pre-paid--papers free within thirty miles of the place of publication--one cent postage on all other papers.
(6) I am in favor of judicious and constitutional appropriations of Congress for the improvement of our rivers and harbors on the lakes.
(7) I am decidedly and earnestly in favor of having the President elected by a direct vote of the people, without the intervention of the Electoral College, and also of having all other officers, from deputy postmaster upward elected by the people... I am with great respect your fellow citizen Owen Lovejoy." (46)

The question of the broader platform had been clarified for Lovejoy by the real political issues of his constituency: homesteading, harbor improvements and free trade.

Background of the Ohio Coalitionist Activities of Chase and Bailey

The impending issue was the possibility of coalescing with the Conscience Whigs and Wilmot Proviso Democrats. Could they be counted on? In the spring of 1848, Chase was busy with Bailey laying the framework for the coalition of antislavery political groups to come together. Chase called for an Ohio State Free Territory Convention in June to nominate presidential candidates. The contenders in their minds were the Whig Supreme Court Justice John McLean, John Hale, already nominated by the Liberty Party, and the Barnburner, Martin Van Buren, who had the weakest antislavery credentials but the strongest national recognition. Bailey preferred McLean; but he hedged enough so that Chase was able to prevent his name being nominated. Hale had previously said in accepting his nomination from the Liberty party that if circumstances changed he would be willing to reconsider. The issue was the platform. The regular Liberty Party leaders were distressed and willing to call their own meeting in 1848 to renominate Hale. (47)

Tappan was most distressed. In an "Address to the Friends" of Liberty July 1, 1848 he pleaded, "not to reduce the movement to non-extension of slavery, there would be time for union when others adopted their antislavery program which included: divorcing national government from slavery, abolition of the interstate slave trade, and the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and a commitment to the overthrow of slavery by peaceful and Constitutional means." Meanwhile, for months before that, Bailey had been trying to encourage Van Buren to consider a platform wider than non-extension. Now Bailey welcomed Tappan's challenge and replied in the Era that he supported a temporary coalition coming together on equal terms to choose the most effective candidate "open to the wholesale opposition to slavery" so long as that did not involve "compromises of our own vital principles." (48)

In another article of the same issue of the Era Bailey went beyond the issue of non-extension to advocate the denationalization of slavery as the proper basis for an antislavery coalition. Bailey, knowing of Hale's willingness to withdraw if the right antislavery principles were upheld, persuaded Hale to put that in writing to be used if Van Buren embraced an acceptable Liberty Party platform.

In June, after both national parties nominated proslavery candidates and failed to support the Wilmot Proviso, the Massachusetts Conscience Whigs under the leadership of Charles Francis Adams met in Worcester Massachusetts. The New York Barnburners, who were Wilmot Proviso Democrats, met at Utica, New York, under the leadership of Martin Van Buren. Both meetings called for a national meeting like the Ohio Free Territory Convention of Chase on the issue of Free Soil to nominate presidential candidates to meet in Buffalo August 9th.

By this time Leavitt and the Liberty Party leaders had little choice but to attend this meeting and support their candidate Hale and a strong platform and if unsuccessful to call their own meeting. But Bailey had out maneuvered them with Hale's willingness to withdraw on the basis of a strong platform; and they were persuaded that if they now supported Van Buren, Chase, who would be on the resolutions committee, would be enabled to negotiate a stronger platform.

Illinois Response to Coalition Plans

Back in Illinois, as coalition activities were unfolding, there was considerable discussion of whether Liberty Party members should unite with other parties. At the Liberty State Convention on July 5th at Henepin, Lovejoy was one of the major speakers and leaders. After considerable discussion they decided to send 10 representatives to the Convention in Buffalo. Lovejoy and Collins were among them. The convention passed resolutions with mixed messages. One resolution extended to John P. Hale and Leicester King their hearty support. Another resolution recommended nominating candidates "who will fairly represent and fully sustain the true sentiments of the North....That we here today lay aside all party preference, and unite on the platform of Free Soil, Free Labor, and Free Men, Equal Representation and Constitutional opposition to slavery." (49)


Twenty thousand people attended and the famous Oberlin tent was brought in for the meeting. A method of selecting 550 conferees equally representing the various constituencies was devised. As usual Owen Lovejoy was appointed to the resolutions committee, the outcome of which would determine the success of this coalition movement. However, the basic outlines had already been determined. Van Buren had made the concessions of supporting the plank to end slavery in the District of Columbia and that antislavery planks stronger than non-extension were to be included in the platform, which were quite similar to the 1847 Liberty Convention. Stanton and Leavitt sought to gain support for Van Buren who won on the first ballot. Lovejoy, having received mixed messages from the State Convention, may have kept his support for Hale, though there is some indication that he was in on the deal and would have supported Van Buren. After the vote Leavitt made the speech of his lifetime and persuaded a unanimous vote for Van Buren. Lovejoy enthusiastically concurred. The roars of approval when this was presented to the huge meeting in the Oberlin tent along with approval of the resolutions made the Free Soil Party a reality. Chase and Bailey had achieved their goal--an effective coalition with other political parties, and a strong antislavery platform minus the extreme abolitionists' goal of ending slavery in the states where it already existed by constitutional authority, an understanding Bailey felt was an imperative if there was ever to be a peaceful end of slavery in the United States.

Lovejoy wrote a letter to the Western Citizen, published August 22, 1848:

"...The principles laid down in their solutions which were adopted by the Convention, every one will recognize as substantially the principles we have always advocated. For these principles we can of course labor as we ever have. If Mr. Van Buren accepts the nomination, he of course pledges himself to the support and carrying out of these principles, which bind him to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and to all constitutional opposition to slavery everywhere... Mr. Van Buren by a letter, and Mr. Hale through his friends, submitted their names to the convention agreeing to abide its results. It was not therefore a ratification of the Utica Convention, but a new nomination by the Free Soil and Free Men Party at Buffalo...

...It was a political Pentecost where more than three times three thousand received the baptism of Liberty; and to continue the allusion, I might add we were all of one heart, and of one mind, finding a harmony of language and a union of heart as unexpected and surprising to us, as the same things were to the actors in the memorable scene referred to. If it were excusable to drag in a quotation I would say, 'Mutate nomine, idem manner.' The name changed--the thing remains."


Lovejoy abandoned the ideal goals of the early Liberty Party and he was willing to sacrifice his identity with the Liberty Party for the expediency of joining with other political party leaders in the hope for victory at the polls. Eventually, he would drop another goal dear to him, equal rights for the Negro. But he just couldn't withdraw from the action into the safe refuge of the truly righteous, like the Upstaters who remained the radical, faithful minority. Nor could he withdraw like some of the Easterners, such as Tappan, who continued his charity but not his political action. Lovejoy's religion and politics were too welded together to allow him that luxury. The price he had to pay for such decisions was lost respect from good friends he admired. However, he would not abandon their name. He knew how indebted he was to this brave and faithful abolitionist vanguard. He could not be intimidated by being called an abolitionist. He would "glory in the name"; but then he would redefine the term to apply to anyone who would follow the biblical injunction to care for his neighbor. They were right to charge him with selling out the abolition cause and being too personally ambitious. Lincoln knew of Lovejoy's ambition and commented about him, "...that though he was personally ambitious he bravely endured the obscurity which the unpopularity of his principles imposed, and never accepted official honors, until those honors were ready to admit his principles with him." (50)

Lincoln knew Lovejoy had longed to win the victory and had kept his principle that slavery was a sin against God that both Christianity and Democracy demanded to be eradicated. The question was one of tactics. Edward Magdol, Lovejoy's major biographer, wrote an article on abolitionism two years after his biography was published. In it he said, "There is therefore more to be said about the unity of tactics and the tactics of unity." (51) Lovejoy not only had a fixed, unifying political objective, he could see the unique situation in Illinois and appropriate with clarity all the tactics he had learned in the Liberty Party to help bring about the final victory.

In 1848 Lovejoy returned to Illinois invigorated to win, and for the next 12 years implemented the tactics of each of the factions. Like the Easterners of The Old Guard, he would benevolently give aid to Negroes: hiding them, feeding them, clothing them and sending them on their way to freedom. He would work with Negro leaders like Frederick Douglass. He would work through the churches, grateful for Tappan's financial resources and grateful for Tappan's Christian commitment to care for his neighbor.

Like the Upstate New York Political And Church Reformers, he would relentlessly expose the evil of the encroachments of the Slave Power on the rights of Northerners as well as Southerners. He would constantly preach that Christ died for all including the slave and it's the Christian's responsibility to vote justly in order to stop the corrupt Slave Power and give the slave his freedom. And he would happily chide and embarrass Christians who thought otherwise. He would appeal to the "Higher Law" and expose the inhumanity of being transfigured into the slave catcher.

Like the Ohio Coalitionists he used the Constitution as a great weapon of patriotism, thus putting disuionism to rest as a wedge against antislavery advocates. He came to see the wisdom and the power of the tactic of using the Constitution to accept the limitation on him and others, not to try to stop slavery in the states where it existed, but appropriating the power of the Constitution to stop the spread of slavery. And he came to realize even after another failed attempt at coalition with the Free Democratic Party, the strength of joining forces with other political party men, especially with those of ability and integrity.

And like the other Illinois Organizers, he saw the unique possibilities of Illinois and the unique gifts of his personal history. On most every occasion he was introduced with some reference to being "the brother of the slain martyr Elijah." His gift of persuasive language was unsurpassed and he used it extensively. Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull said in a tribute in Congress in 1864 to his political colleague, "No man in the State, if any in the nation, ever exerted a greater influence on the masses by his speeches than Owen Lovejoy." He would spend four days a week organizing the antislavery cause; with the support of a wonderful wife Eunice, who not only cared for the family but also the horse farm that she had inherited, which helped finance his activities, and the loyal church members who shared in and were proud of his antislavery participation. He mobilized and inspired men and women, especially able men of integrity. He worked hard to bring Lyman Trumbull and Abraham Lincoln into the cause.

When asked in 1858 if he supported Abraham Lincoln for United States Senate, Lovejoy said that the "Republican Party was formed on the principles of the love of Freedom and the hatred of oppression…I am for Lincoln because he is a true-hearted man and come what may, unterrified by power and unseduced by ambition he will remain true of the principles of the Republican Party." (52) Though the phrases fit Lincoln they suit Owen Lovejoy even better.


Blue, Frederick J. The Free Soilers: Third Party Politics 1848-54. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1973.

Dillon, Merton L. Elijah P. Lovejoy, Abolitionist Editor. Urbana: U of I Press, 1964.

Dumond, Dwight Lowell, Anti-Slavery: The Crusade for Freedom in America. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1961.

Foner, Eric. Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Harris, N. Dwight. The History of Negro Servitude in Illinois and the Slavery Agitation in that State, 1719-1864. Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co., 1904.

Harrold, Stanley. Gamaliel Bailey and Antislavery Union. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1986.

Johnson, Paul E. Shopkeeper's Millennium: The Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837. New York: Hill and Wang, 1978.

Lovejoy, Joseph C. and Owen Lovejoy. Memoir of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy: Who was Murdered in Defense of the Liberty of the Press, at Alton, Illinois, Nov. 7, 1837. New York: John S. Taylor, 1838.

Mayer, Henry. All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.

Muelder, Hermann R. Fighters for Freedom: A History of Anti-Slavery Activities of Men and Women Associated with Knox College. New York: Columbia University Press, 1959.

Nye, Russell B. Fettered Freedom: A discussion of civil liberties and the slavery controversy in the United States, 1830 to 1860. East Lansing: Michigan State College Press, 1949.

Rayback, Joseph G. Free Soil: The Election of 1848. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1970.

Sewell, Richard H. Ballots for Freedom: Antislavery Politics in the United States 1837-1860. New York and London: Oxford University Press, 1976.

Smith, Theodore Clarke. The Liberty and Free Soil Parties in the Northwest. New York: Russell & Russell, 1897.

Strong, Douglas M. Perfectionist Politics: Abolitionism and the Religious Tensions of American Democracy. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1999


1 The Liberty Tree, 1846, microfilm, Illinois State Historical Library

2 Elizabeth Partee Lovejoy to Owen Lovejoy, Lovejoy Papers, Clements Library, University of Michigan.

3 Ibid.

4 Dillon, Merton, L. Elijah P. Lovejoy, Abolitionist Editor, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1964, p. 156.

5 The Western Citizen, September 23, 1843, preached in Princeton, Illinois January 1842.

6 Lovejoy, Joseph P. and Owen G. Lovejoy, Memoir of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy: who was murdered in the Defense of the Liberty of the Press, at Alton, Illinois, Nov. 7, 1837. New York: John S. Taylor 1838.

7 Ibid, p. 359.

8 Ibid, p. 360.

9 Ibid, p. 365.

10 Kelesy, C.L., Bureau County Republican, June 16, 1864.

11 Western Citizen, September 23, 1843

12 Western Citizen, June 20, 1843.

13 Magdol, Edward, Owen Lovejoy: Abolitionist in Congress, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rutgers University Press, 1967, p. 61.

14 Muelder, Hermann R., Fighters for Freedom: A History of Anti-Slavery Activities of Men and Women Associated with Knox College, New York, Columbia University Press, 1959, Chapter. 7 "Other Colonies on the Illinois Frontier."

15 Spinka, Matthew, A History of Illinois Congregational and Christian Church, Chicago, 1944, p. 94

16 Dumond, Dwight Lowell, Anti-Slavery: The Crusade for Freedom in America, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1961. p. 282.

17 Lovejoy Society Newsletter Vol. I No. 1. 1996, p. 6 Illinois State Historical Library.

18 Magdol, p. 40.

19 Dumond, p. 284.

20 Owen Lovejoy to James G. Birney, December 9, 1837, Illinois State Historical Library.

21 Johnson, Paul, E., A Shopkeeper's Millennium, New York, Hill and Wang, 1978

22 Strong, Douglas M. Perfectionist Politics: Abolitionism and Religious Tensions of American Democracy, Syracuse University Press, 1999. p. 64.

23 Strong, pgs. 124-130

24 Magdol, p. 65.

25 Dumond, p. 291

26 Dumond, p. 298

27 Foner, Eric, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War, Oxford University Press, 1995. p. 76.

28 Ibid.

29 Foner, p.80.

30 Harrold, Stanley. Gamaliel Bailey and the Antislavery Union, Kent, Ohio, Kent University Press, 1986. Chap. 9.

31 Western Citizen, February 16, 1847.

32 Alft, E.C., Elgin, An American History, 1835-1985.

33 Western Citizen, February 23, 1847.

34 Ibid.

35 James Collins to Owen Lovejoy, March 17, 1847, Illinois State Historical Library.

36 Western Citizen, October 28, 1847


37 Ibid

38 Magdol, p. 83.

39 Raybeck, Joseph G. Free Soil: the Election of 1848, Lexington, The University Press of Kentucky, 1970, p.111.

40 Ibid

41 Western Citizen, December 9, 1847.

42 Ibid

43 Magdol, p. 160. Lovejoy strapped financially and finding it difficult to secure a loan in New York on his property in the west, in December 1856, shortly after his election to Congress, received a $3,000 loan with no interest from Smith.

44 Magdol, p. 86.

45 Magdol, p. 85.

46 Western Citizen July 18, 1848.

47 Harrold, Chapter Nine.

48 Harrold, p. 119.

49 Western Citizen, July 11, 1848.

50 Letter Abraham Lincoln to John Howard Bryant, Chairman of the Lovejoy Monument Committee, May 30, 1864, Bureau Country Historical Association.

51 Magdol, Edward, "New Look at Abolitionists" a review of Means and Ends in American Abolitionism by Aileen Kraditor, in the Nation, February 17, 1969. p. 214.

52. Extra Edition of the Bureau County Republican that included Owen Lovejoy's renomination speech at Joliet, Illinois June 30, 1858. Lovejoy sent a copy of the speech to Lincoln.