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Owen Lovejoy
Owen Lovejoy

A Congregationalist minister and abolitionist leader from Princeton, Illinois, Owen Lovejoy's home became one of the Underground Railroad's most significant sites in Illinois. In 1837 a pro-slavery mob in Alton, Illinois murdered Lovejoy's brother Elijah for his persistence in publishing an abolitionist newspaper. Unlike most eastern abolitionists, who refused to take part in what they saw as a corrupt political process, Owen Lovejoy became active in the Liberty Party's 1840 campaign, and then in the furious response to the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act. He 1854 he won election to the Illinois State Legislature, and in 1856 he moved on to the United States House of Representatives. Elected as a member of the new Republican Party, Lovejoy became known as one of the most aggressive anti-slavery Republicans in Congress. As the sectional crisis loomed Lovejoy became more tolerant of other members of the Republican coalition, and campaigned actively for Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Lovejoy died in 1864.

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©Copyright 2002 Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project