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The Ties that BindTransatlantic Abolitionism in the Age of Reform, c. 1820-1866$
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J. R. Oldfield

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789622003

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789622003.001.0001

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The Power of the Word

The Power of the Word

(p.61) 3 The Power of the Word
The Ties that Bind

J. R. Oldfield

Liverpool University Press

This Chapter looks at the role of paid anti-slavery agents or lecturers in raising public awareness about slavery. Strictly speaking, the agency system had its origins in Britain but it had its widest impact in the USA. The chapter looks at the growth of the agency system, its organization and size. It then moves on to look in greater detail at the men and women who became agents, among them Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Abby Kelley, Lucy Stone and Susan B Anthony. Rather like civil rights activists during the 1960s, anti-slavery agents were front-line workers whose job it was to create an anti-slavery public and, in the process, sow the seeds of radical political change. It was demanding and sometimes dangerous work but the agency system would prove a vital part of the wider abolitionist effort right up until the eve of the American Civil War.

Keywords:   Agents, Lecturers, Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Abby Kelley, Lucy Stone, Susan B Anthony

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