Owen Lovejoy and the Coalition for Equality

Clergy, African Americans, and Women United for Abolition

An Illinois activist and his abolitionist alliance

Antislavery white clergy and their congregations. Radicalized abolitionist women. African Americans committed to ending slavery through constitutional political action. These diverse groups attributed their common vision of a nation free from slavery to strong political and religious values. Owen Lovejoy’s gregarious personality, formidable oratorical talent, probing political analysis, and profound religious convictions made him the powerful leader the coalition needed.

Owen Lovejoy and the Coalition for Equality examines how these three distinct groups merged their agendas into a single antislavery, religious, political campaign for equality with Lovejoy at the helm. Combining scholarly biography, historiography, and primary source material, Jane Ann Moore and William F. Moore demonstrate Lovejoy's crucial role in nineteenth-century politics, the rise of antislavery sentiment in religious spaces, and the emerging congressional commitment to end slavery. Their compelling account explores how the immorality of slavery became a touchstone of political and religious action in the United States through the efforts of a synergetic coalition led by an essential abolitionist figure.

"Owen Lovejoy was that rarest of beings--a dedicated abolitionist and a savvy politician. Having already published an indispensable collection of Lovejoy’s most important writings, the Moores have now given us the most thorough biography of Lovejoy to date. Grounded in deep research and an unparalleled familiarity with the ins and outs of Illinois politics, the Moores demonstrate Lovejoy’s crucial role in the creation of the 'coalition for equality' that eventually brought slavery down."--James Oakes, author of The Scorpion’s Sting: Antislavery and the Coming of the Civil War

"This very fine study of Owen Lovejoy develops a deep understanding of a significant antislavery politician and of the Midwestern political culture that he so skillfully represented. It is a biography offers rich rewards to historians who study the problem of slavery, the abolitionist movement, and the politics of the sectional conflict."--James Brewer Stewart, author of Holy Warriors: The Abolitionists and American Slavery


Jane Ann Moore and William F. Moore are co-directors of the Lovejoy Society. They are the authors of Collaborators for Emancipation: Abraham Lincoln and Owen Lovejoy and the editors of Owen's Lovejoy's His Brother's Blood: Speeches and Writings, 1838–64. They manage the website www.increaserespect.com, which applies the concepts of this book.

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