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Abolitionist activism in 1850's America was divided among two groups of thought: disunionists, who understood the American Constitution to be a pro-slavery document, and political abolitionists, who believed the Constitution

Abolitionist activism in 1850's America was divided among two groups of thought: disunionists, who understood the American Constitution to be a pro-slavery document, and political abolitionists, who believed the Constitution was antislavery. This paper traces the origins and structures of each argument, specifically focusing on the philosophies of Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison. It supplements their views with the works of other prominent abolitionists such as Lysander Spooner, Wendell Phillips and Gerrit Smith.

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