Check out the Introduction to Rice University historian Caleb McDaniel's new book, The Problem of Democracy in the Age of Slavery: Garrisonian Abolitionists and Transatlantic Reform (LSU, 2013).
Here is a taste:
On April 14, 1865, hours before Abraham Lincoln sat down for the last
time at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C., the famous abolitionist
William Lloyd Garrison sat down for the first time in Charleston, South
Carolina. More than three decades before, Garrison had founded the
Boston Liberator, a newspaper dedicated to universal, immediate
slave emancipation. In 1833, he helped found the American Anti-Slavery
Society (AASS), a group devoted to the same goal. And by the time he
went to Charleston, Garrison had served as the society’s president for
over twenty years. Only in the last few, however, had emancipation
changed from a despised, minority opinion to the official policy of
federal armies in a cataclysmic civil war. With the war now ending and a
constitutional amendment to abolish slavery awaiting ratification,
Garrison had come to Fort Sumter to attend a flag-raising ceremony at
the invitation of Lincoln’s administration.
Undoubtedly Garrison’s emotions about the trip were difficult to
express, and not only because he met recently emancipated slaves, one of
whom pressed a ten-dollar bill into his hand. Garrison’s emotions were
also stirred because he could now celebrate a country he had long
regarded with deep disillusionment—even disgust. That disillusionment
had two main causes. Four million of Garrison’s countrymen had been
considered chattel property just three years before. But the
abolitionists who had worked for three decades to abolish this evil met
with nearly unremitting hostility, even in the “free states” of the
North. Garrison once confessed to feeling more at home in Britain, which
abolished slavery in its West Indian colonies only two years after he
started his paper, and as recently as 1860, Garrison had objected to
having the American flag wave over his head. Now, five years later, he
literally helped pull the Star-Spangled Banner up the flagpole at Fort
Sumter, accompanied by his friend of thirty-two years, British
abolitionist George Thompson.
Read the rest here. I am looking forward to reading this book.