>The son of a merchant sailing master, William Lloyd Garrison was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1805. Due in large measure to the Embargo Act, which Congress had passed in 1807, the Garrison family fell on hard times while William was still young (in 1808 his father deserted the family). When he was 25, Garrison joined the Abolition movement, associating with the American Colonization Society, an organization that believed free blacks should emigrate to a territory on the west coast of Africa. At first glance the society seemed to promote the freedom and happiness of blacks; however, most members had no wish to free slaves; their goal was only to reduce the numbers of free blacks in the country and thus help preserve the institution of slavery. We have a complete run of the organ of that society, The African Repository, many issues of which were owned by Moses Brown, a famous Rhode Island Quaker.
By 1830 Garrison had worked as co-editor of an antislavery paper started by Benjamin Lundy in Maryland, The Genius of Universal Emancipation. On January 1, 1831, he published the first issue of his own anti-slavery newspaper, the Liberator. Though circulation of the Liberator was relatively limited—there were less than 400 subscriptions during the paper’s second year—Garrison soon gained a reputation for being the most radical of abolitionists. Still, his approach to emancipation stressed nonviolence and passive restistance, and he did attract a following. In 1832 he helped organize the New England Anti-Slavery Society, and, the following year, the American Anti-Slavery Society. These were the first organizations dedicated to promoting immediate emancipation.