Rights of Leadership: The Propaganda of Race and Class During the Abolitionist Movement

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Rights of Leadership: The Propaganda of Race and Class During the Abolitionist Movement

Henry Highland Garnet and William Lloyd Garrison were two of the most instrumental leaders of the Abolitionist Movement. Their social backgrounds and experiences were responsible for contrasting the two leaders and influenced their approaches, beliefs and solutions to the abolishment of slavery. Their opinions and approaches were voiced in terms of the role of the political process, the role of moral persuasion and the role of violence as a means to an end.

Though both Garnet and Garrison shared a common interest in the anti-slavery movement they differed greatly in their rhetoric and advocacy styles and techniques. Garrison, who was from a poor
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In 1834, Garnet read in Garrison's Liberator a notice for Noyes Academy formed by abolitionists in Canaan, New Hampshire, that admitted "colored youth of good character on equal terms with whites of like character." (Schor 12). At Noyes, he learned to articulate his earlier feelings of anger towards solutions that included nonviolent, moral suasionist views, ideologies that were promoted at Noyes. After repeated personal attacks, Garnet reluctantly abandoned his nonviolent doctrines. This led him to form an alliance with Walker who also believed "the end justifies the means." Unlike Garrison who believed that people were capable of infinite improvement Garnet believed it was sinful "not" to use violence. Garnet's resistance, though more extreme that Garrison's, appeared appropriate, even moderate because of the turmoil in the climate of the country that led to the civil war.

Both Garrison and Garnet shared a belief in the importance of the written word and speech. Garrison who was convicted of libel for denouncing a Newberryport merchant, was sentenced to jail, during which time he also published a pamphlet that became widely circulated. Through his pamphlets and his anti-slavery newspapers, he was able to spread his message. Garrison effectively used his rhetoric to organize the American Anti-Slavery society in 1833. He argued that slavery was evil because it perpetuated inhuman relationships as did politics in a male dominated society. Garnet was known for
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