Elijah P. Lovejoy

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Appletons' Lovejoy Elijah Parish

Der abolitionistische Pastor und Zeitungsverleger ("The Observer") Elijah Parish Lovejoy (*9.11.1802 in Albion, Maine; gest. 7.11.1837 in Alton, Illinois) wurde für sein Eintreten für die Abschaffung der Sklaverei in den USA und durch seinen Märtyrertod im Kugelhagel seiner Gegner - aufrecht stehend an der Tür zu seiner Druckerei - bekannt.

7 novembre 1837 – Ad Alton (Illinois), lo stampatore abolizionista Elijah P. Lovejoy viene ucciso dalla folla mentre tenta di proteggere il suo negozio dall'essere distrutto per la terza volta.
Giornalista Elijah Lovejoy strenuamente difeso il suo diritto di pubblicare materiale abolizionista nel suo giornale, e morì per mano di una folla schiavista nel 1837.
The fact that Lovejoy died defending the freedom of speech and press was the subject of hundreds of sermons and editorials throughout the North. His death, wrote John Quincy Adams, "gave a shock as of an earthquake throughout this continent."

Lovejoy schloss 1826 sein Studium am Waterville (später Colby) College ab. Nach einer kurzen Zeit als Schullehrer und Zeitungsredakteur in St. Louis, Mo., begann sich der Sohn eines presbyterianischen Pastors in Princeton auf seine seelsorgerische Tätigkeit vorzubereiten. Zurück in St. Louis, begann er ein presbyterianisches Wochenblatt herauszugeben, den "Observer".

His editorials on slavery soon brought protests from his readers, for even the gradual abolition of slavery that Lovejoy proposed was controversial.

1836 zog Lovejoy nach Alton, Ill., 25 Meilen von St. Louis entfernt. Grund waren die Drohungen der Anti-Abolitionisten, die nun auch seine (seit 1835) Frau betrafen und die Tatsache, dass er nach der Veröffentlichung eines Berichts (1836) über den Lynchmord an einem freien Afro-Amerikaner in St. Louis (einschließlich eines Berichts über das Strafverfahren, das mit dem Freispruch der Mob-Anführer) einerseits immer stärker angefeindet, zugleich aber von der Presbyterian General Assembly immer weniger unterstützt worden war.

When the Observer's press, left unguarded on the Alton dock, was smashed and thrown into the Mississippi River, local citizens pledged money for a new one.
Lovejoy's abolitionism, however, grew increasingly aggressive, and his press was destroyed again in 1837, 2 months before he helped form the Illinois auxiliary of the American Antislavery Society. When his third press was thrown into the river, Lovejoy wrote in his paper, "We distinctly avow it to be our settled purpose, never, while life lasts, to yield to this new system of attempting to destroy, by means of mob violence, the right of conscience, the freedom of opinion, and of the press." By this time his uncompromising abolitionism and defense of free speech had received national attention.
At the request of Alton's mayor the Observer's fourth press was placed in a warehouse for safekeeping. Lovejoy's friends gathered about 50 armed men to guard it. On the evening of November 7 some 20 or 30 local citizens surrounded the warehouse. Responsibility for the first shot was never fixed, but one from within the building killed a member of the attacking group. There was more firing from both sides, and when several defenders rushed out to extinguish a fire on the roof, Lovejoy, standing in an open doorway, fell with five bullets in his body. He died within the hour. After his supporters surrendered, the mob burned the warehouse.


  • John Gill, Tide without Turning: Elijah P. Lovejoy and Freedom of the Press (1958)
  • Merton L. Dillon, Elijah P. Lovejoy: Abolitionist Editor (1961)
  • William S. Lincoln, The Alton Trials (1838).