Violence and Abolitionists

Mar 4, 1837

This letter to the Editor of the Boston Courier should be read with other letters to the Courier, which follow soon after this.  The content is not easily summarized, and quotations from parts of the argument which Garrison makes are subject to misrepresenting his view toward violence, when it is or is not justified.  He sites instances in the history of the United States, words from national constitutional documents, words from slaveholders, quotes from slaveholding state constitutions, which justify the use of violence by the oppressed.  That right is unalienable.  He maintains that Abolitionists are the only party who “deny to the oppressed the right of redressing their wrongs, by a bloody process”.  These letters and arguments will need to be read finally in the context of later periods in Garrison’s life.   1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI