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ombs, and James M. Mason. The outlook was portentous, tempestuous. The tide of excitement culuminated in the crisis of 1850. The extraordinary activity of the underground railroad system, and its failure to open the national Territories to slavefreedom and slavery. It sounded the opening of the final act of Southern domination in the republic. The compromise of 1850, a series of five acts, three of which it took to conciliate the South, while two were considered sufficient to satisfy thost instant illustration of its truth in the startling demand of that power for the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. In 1850 the South lost California, but it received at the time an advantage of far-reaching consequence, viz., the admission of thof 1820 and open to slave immigration the northern half of the Louisiana Territory, was laid in the compromise measures of 1850. Calhoun, strongly dissatisfied as he was with the Missouri settlement, recoiled from countenancing any agitation on th
ender link was intact. The anti-slavery uprising was a fast growing factor in the politics of the free States. This was evinced by the aggressiveness of anti-slavery legislation, the repeal of slave sojournment laws, the enactment of personal liberty laws, the increasing preference manifested by Whig and by Democratic electors for antislavery Whig, and anti-slavery Democratic leaders. Seward and Chase, and Hale and Hamlin, Thaddeus Stevens and Joshua R. Giddings, were all in Congress in 1849. A revolution was working in the North; a revolution was working in the South. New and bolder spirits were rising to leadership in both sections. On the Southern stage were Jefferson Davis, Barnwell Rhett, David Atchison, Howell Cobb, Robert Toombs, and James M. Mason. The outlook was portentous, tempestuous. The tide of excitement culuminated in the crisis of 1850. The extraordinary activity of the underground railroad system, and its failure to open the national Territories to slave
the doing, and answering no questionsintimates forbearing to ask the knowledge which it may be dangerous to have-all remind one of those foreign scenes which have hitherto been known to us, transatlantic republicans, only in books. On the passage of the Black Bill, as the Abolitionists stigmatised the law, it was not believed that the moral sentiment of Boston would execute it, so horrified did the community seem. But it was soon apparent to the venerable Josiah Quincy that The Boston of 1851 is not the Boston of 1775. Boston, the sage goes on to remark, has now become a mere shop — a place for buying and selling goods; and, I suppose, also of buying and selling men. The great idol of her shopkeepers, Daniel Webster, having striven mightily for the enactment of the hateful bill while Senator of the United States, had gone into Millard Fillmore's Cabinet, to labor yet more mightily for its enforcement. The rescue of Shadrach, which Mr. Secretary of State characterized as a case
y was at last met by the sectionalism of freedom. From that moment the old Union, with its slave compromises, was doomed. In the conflict then impending its dissolution was merely a matter of time, unless indeed the North should prove strong enough to preserve it by the might of its arms, seeing that the North still clung passionately to the idea of national unity. Not so, however, was it with Garrison. Sharper and sterner rose his voice against any union with slaveholders. On the Fourth of July following the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, the reformer at Framingham, Mass., gave a fresh and startling sign of his hatred of the Union by burning publicly the Constitution of the United States. Before doing so however, he consigned to the flames a copy of the Fugitive-Slave Law, next the decision of Judge Loring remanding Anthony Burns to slavery, also the charge of Judge Benjamin R. Curtis to the Grand Jury touching the assault upon the court-house for the rescue of Burns. The
had indeed modified in one important particular at least. In Calhoun's lifetime, there was no Northern leader bold enough to undertake to engineer an act of abrogation through Congress. If the North were willing, possessed sufficient magnanimity, to surrender, in the interest of brotherly love between the sections, the benefits which inured to it under the Missouri Compromise, neither Calhoun nor the South would have declined the proffered sacrifice. The selection of Stephen A. Douglas in 1854 as the leader of the movement for repeal put a new face on the business, which was thereby made to appear to proceed from the free, not from the slave States. This was adroit, the fixing upon the losing section the initiative and the responsibility of the act of abrogation. Besides this element, there was another not less specious which lent to the scheme an air of fairness, and that was the application to the Territories of the American principle of local self-government, in other words,
the slavepower, found almost instant illustration of its truth in the startling demand of that power for the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. In 1850 the South lost California, but it received at the time an advantage of far-reaching consequence, viz., the admission of the principle of federal non-intervention upon the subject of slavery in the national Territories into the bill organizing Territorial Governments for New Mexico and Utah. The train which was to blow down the slave wall of 1820 and open to slave immigration the northern half of the Louisiana Territory, was laid in the compromise measures of 1850. Calhoun, strongly dissatisfied as he was with the Missouri settlement, recoiled from countenancing any agitation on the part of the South looking to its repeal on the ground that such action was calculated to disturb the peace and harmony of the Union. But four years after the death of the great nullifier, his disciples and followers dared to consummate a crime, the con
May, 1853 AD (search for this): chapter 20
postle of non-resistance fell somewhat into the background of the great movement started by him. Garrison had begun, indeed, to recognize that there were other ways besides his way of abolishing slavery-had begun to see that these with his led to Rome, to the ultimate extinction of the evil, to which antislavery unionists and disunionists were alike devoted. His innate sagacity and strong sense of justice lifted the reformer to larger toleration of mind. At a dinner given in Boston in May, 1853, by the Free Democracy to John P. Hale, he was not only present to testify his appreciation of the courage aud services of Mr. Hale to the common cause, but while there was able to speak thus tolerantly-tolerantly for him certainly — of a Union dear to the company about the table yet hateful beyond measure to himself: Sir, you will pardon me, spoke the arch anti-slavery disunionist, for the reference. I have heard something here about our Union, about the value of the Union, and the impor
March, 1851 AD (search for this): chapter 20
into Canada Charles Sumner placed as high as six thousand souls. But in addition to this large band of fugitives, others emigrated to the interior of New England away from the seaboard centers of trade and commerce where the men-hunters abounded. The excitement and the perils of this period were not confined to the colored people. Their white friends shared both with them. We are indebted to Mr. Phillips for the following graphic account of these excitements and perils in Boston in March, 1851. He has been describing the situation in the city, in respect of the execution of the infamous law, to Elizabeth Pease, and goes on thus: I need not enlarge on this; but the long evening sessionsdebates about secret escapes-plans to evade where we can't resist — the door watched that no spy may enterthe whispering consultations of the morning-some putting property out of their hands, planning to incur penalties, and planning also that, in case of conviction, the Government may get nothin
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