The Riots at Alton

Contemporary engraving of the attack (detail)
  The killing of Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy on November 7, 1837, while defending his printing press from an anti-abolitionist mob in Alton, Illinois, was an early flash point in the conflict over slavery. Edward Beecher, also a Protestant minister and one of Harriet Beecher's older brothers, was there as an ally of Lovejoy's. Beecher's book thus makes a number of claims on the attention of students of American history.

  The selections from it accessible here, though, were chosen to represent the way Beecher accounts for the event. The context he which he views Lovejoy's martyrdom is not so much historical as eschatological: that is, he defines the present moment and the issues of slavery and freedom as part of what he calls "the movement of God's providence."
Narrative of the Riots at Alton,
In Connection with the Death of Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy

By Edward Beecher     Alton: G. Holton, 1838

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
Hartford CT

  • Chapter I.
  • Chapter II.

  • Chapter XIV.
  • Chapter XV.
  • Chapter XVI.
  • Chapter XVII.
  • Chapter XVIII.
  • Chapter XIX.
  • Chapter XX.
  • Chapter XXI.
  • Chapter XXII.

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