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Making Slavery HistoryAbolitionism and the Politics of Memory in Massachusetts$
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Margot Minardi

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195379372

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379372.001.0001

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Movements and Monuments

Movements and Monuments

(p.70) 3 Movements and Monuments
Making Slavery History

Margot Minardi

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how the idea that slavery was fundamentally at odds with local heritage shaped abolitionist efforts to gain public support in the 1830s and 40s. In Boston, as the construction of the Bunker Hill Monument coincided with the development of an antislavery movement, abolitionists (led by William Lloyd Garrison) and monument‐builders (including Daniel Webster) vied for control over the American Revolution's legacy. Abolitionists' success in using Revolutionary rhetoric to get fugitive slave George Latimer freed from jail in 1842 was followed by another round of antislavery agitation in 1843, when abolitionists charged President John Tyler with bringing a slave to the Bunker Hill Monument's dedication. In examining the ensuing controversy about the commemoration of the Revolution, this chapter contends that abolitionists and their opponents were contesting not only the future course of the country but also the relationship between the present and the past.

Keywords:   Boston, Bunker Hill Monument, antislavery movement, William Lloyd Garrison, Daniel Webster, American Revolution, George Latimer, abolitionists, John Tyler, commemoration

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