Front cover image for His brother's blood : speeches and writings, 1838-64

His brother's blood : speeches and writings, 1838-64

His Brother's Blood is a story about ending slavery in America told in the words of one of the most eloquent and influential leaders of the antislavery movement -- Owen Lovejoy (1811-64). In 1837, Owen Lovejoy knelt before the dead body of his brother Elijah, an antislavery newspaper publisher killed by an angry proslavery mob in Alton, Illinois. It was then that he vowed never to forsake the cause that was now sprinkled with his brother's blood. Instead of seeking revenge on the murderers, Lovejoy dedicated himself to work with others to eradicate the system of racial slavery. In 1839, Lovejoy became a Congregational minister, serving in Princeton, Illinois, until 1856. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives that same year and became a powerful antislavery voice in the 37th Congress. Lovejoy faced prosecution several times for using his Princeton home to harbor slaves on their way north, and in 1852 he invited Frederick Douglass to Princeton, to promote opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.Lovejoy also helped to organize the Liberty Party, the Free Soil Party, the Free Democratic Party, and the Republican Party, blending religion with pragmatism in a new way, different from that of the Eastern abolitionists. He was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1854 and supported Lincoln in his bid for U.S. senator. In the summer of 1856 when Lovejoy was nominated for Congress, Lincoln was at first upset, but within a month realized Lovejoy's political strength and supported him indirectly. In Congress, Lovejoy served as a bridge between the Radical Republicans and Lincoln. Lovejoy said of Lincoln, "If he does not drive as fast as I would, he is on the same road, and it is a question of time." Lincoln said of Lovejoy, "It would scarcely wrong any other to say, he was my most generous friend." His Brother's Blood is the first comprehensive collection of Lovejoy's sermons, campaign speeches, open letters, congressional exchanges, and addresses. It offers a colorful and important perspective on the turmoil leading up to the Civil War and the excitement in Congress that produced universal emancipation.
Print Book, English, 2004
Univ. of Illinois Press, Urbana, 2004