No Taint of Compromise highlights the motives and actions of those who played instrumental if not central roles in antislavery politics—those who undertook the yeoman's work of organizing parties, holding conventions, editing newspapers, and generally animating and agitating the discussion of issues related to slavery. They were a small but critical number of voices who, beginning in the late 1830s, battled the institution of slavery through political activism. Frederick J. Blue provides an in-depth account of the trials and accomplishments of eleven men and women who, in the face of great odds and powerful opposition, insisted that emancipation and racial equality could only be achieved through the political process: Alvan Stewart, a Liberty party organizer from New York; John Greenleaf Whittier, a Massachusetts poet, journalist, and Liberty activist; Charles Henry Langston, an Ohio African American educator; Owen Lovejoy, a congressman from Illinois; Sherman Booth, a journalist and Liberty organizer in Wisconsin; Jane Grey Swisshelm, a journalist in Pennsylvania and later Minnesota; George W. Julian, a congressman from Indiana; David Wilmot, a congressman from Pennsylvania; Benjamin and Edward Wade, a senator and a congressman, respectively, from Ohio; and Jessie Benton Frémont of Missouri and California, wife of the Republican presidential nominee.Their stories, brought together in this comparative biographical study, enrich our understanding of the political crisis over slavery that led to the Civil War.
Praise for No Taint of Compromise
“This thoroughly researched and intriguing collection of stories about political antislavery advocates is a welcome addition to the scholarship. Frankly, because the book fills such a significant gap in the literature, it is surprising that someone did not long ago conceive of it. . . . It contributes to scholarly knowledge and debates, it brings to life interesting and inspiring people from our past, and it reads well.”—Journal of the Early Republic
“A useful reference on some of the understudied figures in the antislavery movement.”—American Historical Review
“This is the rare collective biography in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”—Ohio History
“No Taint of Compromise is a pleasure to read. Blue brings decades of experience to the subject and the genre. . . . The brief biographies he offers in No Taint of Compromise are humane, compelling, and enlightening.”—Indiana Magazine of History
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