Voices of Reform

Abroad in the land, many voices called out for reform--William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Maria Weston Chapman, Wendell Phillips, Margaret Fuller, Dorothea Dix, Horace Mann, and others. The causes were various--temperance, the property rights of married women, the abolition of capital punishment, improvements in education, and in the lot of prisoners and the insane. But overwhelming in urgency was the abolition of slavery. As William Lloyd Garrison put it in the year's first issue of the Liberator, "There is no one branch of Reform, in which we do not feel a lively interest, but first in the order of time and we think first in importance, is the ABOLITION OF SLAVERY, the continuance of which constitutes the giant inequity, the withering curse, the one great peril of the land."

William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison
Unidentified artist
Oil on canvas, circa 1855
30 x 25 inches
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Marlies R. and Sylvester G. March (NPG.84.205)

Dorothea Dix
Dorothea Dix
Unidentified photographer
Daguerreotype, circa 1849
5 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution (NPG.77.261)

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