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Sectional Divisions and Political Breakdowns: 1830 to 1860

            Important events in the 1830s began in 1831 with the British parliament enacting legislation to put an end to slavery throughout the British Empire and publication in Boston of The Liberator, the radical abolitionist weekly newspaper edited by William Lloyd Garrison. The Liberator soon grow to national attention, even in the South. "And heard he was, because southerners, outraged by his inflammatory rhetoric (one editorial called slaveowners "an adulterous and perverse generation, a brood of vipers") reprinted Garrison's editorials in their own newspapers in order to condemn them" (Foner 467). Related events of the 1830s included mobbing, roping and nearly hanging of Garrison in 1835 and destruction of the printing press of James G. Birney in 1836 in Cincinnati, Ohio. "In 1837, the antislavery editor Elijah P. Lovejoy became the movement's first martyr when he was killed by a mob in Alton, Illinois, while defending his press." (474-475) Lovejoy would not have been the first martyr to antislavery among the African slaves, but he was the first martyr of the white abolitionists. After the murder of Lovejoy, "The abolitionist movement now broadened its appeal so as to win the support of northerners who cared little about the rights of blacks but could be convinced that slavery endangered their own cherished freedoms." (476).
             The 1830s also saw events by slaves and by free blacks that signify the end of the acceptance of the institution of slavery in America as settled and not be challenged. "The best-known of all slave rebels was Nat Turner, a slave preacher and religious mystic in Southhampton County, Virginia, who came to believe that God had chosen him to lead a black uprising." In what came to be known as "Nat Turner's Rebellion" of 1831, "By the time that the militia had put down the uprising, about eighty slaves had joined Turner's band, and some sixty whites had been killed.

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