LIBERATOR The first issue of William Lloyd Garrison's newspaper, The Liberator, was published on January 1, 1831. Garrison himself was a white abolitionist who represented the radical extreme of antebellum antislavery activity. An enigma to historians, Garrison has been viewed as a genuine devotee to human liberty in general and black liberty in particular and, on the other hand, as a fanatical demagogue who did much to heighten sectional animosities which ultimately led to the American Civil War. Notwithstanding the various interpretations of Garrisonian abolitionism, it cannot be denied that Garrison and The Liberator had a profound impact upon American historical development during the thirty years prior to the Civil War.
According to Garrison, the purpose of The Liberator was "to lift up the standard of emancipation in the eyes of the nation." Through this literary medium, he indicated his intention to "strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population." His pen, it was implied, would act as an emancipating sword: "I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest —I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD." See also: ABOLITIONISM.