Lovejoy Riots

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LOVEJOY RIOTS. Elijah P. Lovejoy, an abolitionist clergyman, established The Observer in Saint Louis in 1833. Threatened with violence by proslavery men in 1834, he refused to back down, citing his rights to free speech and free press. He moved his press to free soil in Alton, Illinois, in 1836, where it was smashed on the dock by locals. When Lovejoy spoke out for immediate abolition and a state antislavery society (July 1837), a mob destroyed a second press in August, smashed a third on 21 September, and, in an effort to destroy yet another (7 November), killed Lovejoy, who was immediately canonized as a martyr to the cause.


Dillon, Merton L. Elijah P. Lovejoy, Abolitionist Editor. Urbana: University Press of Illinois, 1961.

Smith, Kimberly K. The Dominion of Voice: Riot, Reason, and Romance in Antebellum Politics. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999.

Raymond P.Stearns/a. r.

See alsoAntislavery ; Newspapers .