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[47] in Cincinnati was being tumbled into the Ohio River; when Pennsylvania Hall, the Quaker Abolitionists' forty-thousand-dollar construction, was ablaze in Philadelphia; when Lovejoy, the Abolition martyr, was bleeding out his life in one of the streets of Alton, Illinois-when, in fact, the whole land was swayed by a frenzied hatred of the men and women who dared to question slavery's right to supremacy, the writer believes the movement would have been successful. Public opinion was so inclined in States like Indiana and Illinois, and even in Ohio, that they might have been easily toppled over to the South. Indeed, at that time it is a problem how Massachusetts would have voted on a proposition to “slaveryize” her soil. The surprising thing, as we look back to that period, is that slavery did not get a foothold in some of the free States, if not in all of them.

But by the time the South was ready to play its trump card, it was too late. The game was lost. Public opinion had become revolutionized throughout the North. The leaven of Abolitionism had got in its work. The men and women, few in number and weak in purse and worldly position as they were, who had enlisted years before in the cause of emancipation, and had fought for it in the face of almost every conceivable discouragement, had at last won a great preliminary victory. Slavery, through their exertions, had become impossible, both in the Territories and in the free States of the North, the United States Supreme Court and all the forces of the slave power to the contrary notwithstanding.

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Elijah P. Lovejoy (1)
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