Wendell Phillips, Abolition and the Civil War (American National Biography)

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James Brewer Stewart, "Phillips, Wendell," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-00548.html.
In the years immediately before the Civil War Phillips's oratory, not his labors for the American Anti-Slavery Society, defined his greatest significance. As the sectional crisis ran its course, he fashioned speeches that dramatized the moral imperative facing the North: people must confront the South and destroy slavery. Collected in books and widely reprinted in newspapers, Phillips's speeches, particularly those urging defiance of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, supporting free-soil struggles in Kansas, and praising John Brown's invasion of Harpers Ferry, gave Yankee political culture a strain of egalitarian extremism that presaged a war for slave emancipation.

The onset of the war itself magnified Phillips's stature and influence as "abolition's golden trumpet." Discarding his disunionism, he declared secession to be treason and demanded war aims that would free the slaves, cede them their former masters' lands, grant them full civil rights, furnish them with free public education, and guarantee them full manhood suffrage. Joining other Radical Republicans, Phillips grew increasingly critical of President Abraham Lincoln's reluctance to prosecute a forthright war of slave liberation, a posture that put him much at odds with Garrison and many other Lincoln supporters within the American Anti-Slavery Society.
How to Cite This Page: "Wendell Phillips, Abolition and the Civil War (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/19282.