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Elijah Lovejoy and Free Speech [microform] / Allen H. Merriam
Bib ID 5482649
Format BookBook, MicroformMicroform, OnlineOnline
Merriam, Allen H
Online Versions
Description [Washington, D.C.] : Distributed by ERIC Clearinghouse, 1987 
17 p. 

Elijah P. Lovejoy, generally regarded as America's first martyr to freedom of the press, was killed by a racist mob in Alton, Illinois, in November 1837, after a brief but tumultuous career as an crusading antislavery newspaper editor and preacher. Born into a stern Maine Protestant family, he migrated to St. Louis, became a minister, and began publishing a religious newspaper called "The Observer." Increasingly opposed to slavery, Lovejoy's journalistic attacks earned him such enmity that he was forced to move his press and family to Alton. Lovejoy's life in Alton produced defenses of free expression that rank him among history's greatest advocates of civil liberty. His printing presses were destroyed on three separate occasions by anti-abolitionist mobs, until the community met and formally requested him to terminate newspaper publication in Alton. Lovejoy defended himself with a speech filled with religious imagery and allusions to death--rhetoric that indicated he had assumed a martyr's mantle. When a fourth printing press arrived, a gang set fire to the building and killed Lovejoy. His advocacy of free expression places him in the tradition of Voltaire and John Stuart Mill--his legacy deriving from the symbolic power of self-sacrifice in defense of freedom. The Lovejoy episode demonstrated that the national debate over slavery, the most convulsive issue in nineteenth century America, became irreconcilably connected to the demands of free speech. (NKA)


ERIC Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (73rd, Boston, MA, November 5-8, 1987).

May also be available online. Address as at 14/8/18:

Reproduction Microfiche. [Washington D.C.]: ERIC Clearinghouse microfiches : positive. 
Subjects Biographies.  |  Civil Rights.  |  Community Influence.  |  Editors.  |  Freedom of Speech.  |  Journalism.  |  Moral Issues.  |  Newspapers.  |  Persuasive Discourse.  |  Press Opinion.  |  Racial Bias.  |  Rhetorical Invention.  |  Slavery.  |  United States History.  |  Victims of Crime.  |  Violence.  |  Abolitionism Lovejoy (Elijah P)  |  First Amendment Journalism History Nineteenth Century History
Form/genre Opinion Papers.  |  Speeches/Meeting Papers.
Available From ERIC 


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