Category Archives: Abolitionists

March 31, 1864: Douglass fair in New Orleans

The Richmond Daily Dispatch reports that New Orleanians are honoring Frederick Douglass for his abolition work. The one-paragraph item contains 7 sets of scare quotes, so the reader will understand that the Dispatch would never refer to Douglass as “illustrious” … Continue reading

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March 21, 1864: Enlisting slaves in Kentucky?

Robert J. Breckinridge The Richmond Daily Dispatch reports that Governor Bramlette of Kentucky opposes union enlistment of Kentucky slaves. He appealed to Robert J. Breckinridge (uncle of John Cabell Breckinridge, but an abolitionist and unionist*) for support, but Breckinridge says … Continue reading

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April 9, 1863: Why should a colored man enlist?

From Douglass’s Monthly, April 1863, an admonition to black men to join the Union army and fight for freedom. WHY SHOULD A COLORED MAN ENLIST? This question has been repeatedly put to us while raising men for the 54th Massachusetts … Continue reading

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February 22, 1863: Epithets

The New York Times analyzes the nicknames used by the two sides against each other, concluding with a tirade against the copperheads. Epithets and Nicknames A Study for the Times. Men betake themselves so naturally to the use of epithets, … Continue reading

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October 1, 1862: Frederick Douglass on the Emancipation Proclamation

Frederick Douglass, in Douglass’ Monthly for October 1862, celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation, and calls for renewed resolve to defeat the rebellion. EMANCIPATION PROCLAIMED Common sense, the necessities of the war, to say nothing of the dictation of justice and humanity … Continue reading

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July 17, 1862: Morgan’s raiders at Robert J. Breckinridge’s farm

Robert Jefferson Breckinridge William C.P. Breckinridge Reverend Robert Jefferson Breckinridge was the uncle of John Cabell Breckinridge. Unlike his nephew, R.J. Breckinridge was a Unionist and an abolitionist, and had been instrumental in the efforts to keep Kentucky in the … Continue reading

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January, 1862: What shall be done with the freed slaves?

From Douglass’ Monthly for January 1862, a plea for justice for the former slaves. Unfortunately, events wound up going almost entirely contrary to Douglass’ prescription. WHAT SHALL BE DONE WITH THE SLAVES IF EMANCIPATED? It is curious to observe, at … Continue reading

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October 28, 1861: Garrison in New York

William Lloyd Garrison Famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison visited New York, and gave an impromptu speech. The article from the New York Times is noteworthy to me mainly because of its headline. Apparently irony wasn’t nearly so well-developed in the … Continue reading

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September, 1861: Douglass — “Cast Off the Mill-Stone” of slavery

Frederick Douglass The official Union policy was still that the war was to be fought solely to preserve the Union, and that the government had no intention of abolishing slavery in the states where it existed. Lincoln, though his personal … Continue reading

Posted in Abolitionists, Causes of the war, Frederick Douglass, Slavery | 1 Comment

May, 1861: Douglass knows how to win the war – Free the slaves

Frederick Douglass Of course, he may have been a bit biased. But his May editorial is still prescient, and it would just take Lincoln a couple of years to come around. From Douglass’ Monthly, May 1861: HOW TO END THE … Continue reading

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