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William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison
A young William Lloyd Garrison

Full Name

William Lloyd Garrison

Born

December 10, 1805, Newburyport, Massachusetts, URAS

Died

Owner and Editor of "The Liberator"

1831-1832, 1836-1845

Equality Party Nominee for Prime Minister of the Union of Royal American States

1840, 1844

Party

Equality Party

Spouse

Helen Eliza Benson

Children

5

Parents

Abijah Garrison, Frances Maria Lloyd

William Lloyd Garrison (December 10, 1805- ?) was an American abolitionist, writer, and failed Equality Party politician. Known for his radicalism, he was known as the unofficial leader of the anti-slavery and anti-monarchy Equality party during the late 1830s and early 1840s.

Joining the Equality Party and the abolitionist movement at the young age of 25, Garrison dedicated his life to fighting for the cause of "liberty" and opposing chattel slavery. To this extent, he opened the revolutionary newspaper "The Liberator," operating out of Boston, Massachusetts; the paper immediately became the central mouthpiece of the Equality Party and pushed Garrison to the forefront of the movement. His open radicalism and what many would term treason, led to the forcible closing of The Liberator in 1832, and his arrest on the orders of Prime Minister Oliver Hazard Perry and his administration for treason. Garrison spent the next four years in prison, until being pardoned in 1836 by incoming Prime Minister Lewis Cass; upon being released, he reopened The Liberator.

Garrison's willingness to serve jail time for the cause made him an instant sensation among abolitionists, and driven on by this support, he ran for a Massachusetts congressional seat in 1838; he lost in a landslide to the Whig candidate. Despite this setback, Garrison remained popular with the Equality Party, and succeeded in winning the nomination for Prime Minister in 1840, at the young age of 34. Like every previous appointment, the Equality Party garnered little to no national support, and wasn't even seriously considered for the position. Garrison took the obvious defeat in stride, and continued to publish through The Liberator the platform of abolitionism.

Four years later, in 1844, Garrison was once again nominated by the Equality Party to the position of Prime Minister. Once again knowing he had no chance, he decided to hold a demonstration to gain more press and national attention. In the public square of Boston, Garrison hoisted a large banner with a picture of King Andrew I. He began shouting that the monarchy was "a Convenant with Death, and an agreement with Hell," before he set fire to the banner. The observing crowd quickly put out the fire, and Garrison was accosted by three large men. Brutally assaulted, Garrison was taken to the nearest hospital, where is was confirmed that while he would live, he would spend the rest of his life as a paraplegic. Now crippled without the use of his legs, one observer noted that metaphorically, the "young man had lost the will to fight for his cause." When Andrew I passed away in 1845, shortly afterwords Garrison issued the last copy of The Liberator, and willfully shut down the newspaper. His career in the spotlight ended at the young age of 39.

William Lloyd Garrison left the public eye, but kept in touch with the Equality Party, and remained a key leader from behind the scenes. Many of the younger generation of abolitionists saw him as a living martyr for the cause.