Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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p. v

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-ix

It seems a long time since Americanists, myself included, Wrst encountered Jürgen Habermas’s Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, and for that discovery I owe a lasting debt of gratitude to Michael Warner and John Brenkman, both of whom helped to inspire a graduate...

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Introduction: The Lessons of Repeated Experience

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pp. xi-xl

William Lloyd Garrison operated literally in the forefront of the American abolition movement, soliciting subscribers and readers for his newspaper before there were organized, nonsectarian abolition societies. Inspired by the mass pamphleteering campaign of the English...

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1. The Sedition of Nonresistance

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pp. 1-42

From its inception in the early 1830s until the end of the decade, the New England abolitionists’ publicity campaign circulated not only pamphlets and newspapers but the traces of a former revolutionary threat. The object of this campaign, the formation of a reading public...

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2. Garrisonism and the Public Sphere

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pp. 43-82

Although the founding principles of nonresistance were acclaimed with a “sacred respect for the right of opinion,” there was little doubt that the discussion of nonresistance in public venues and print media honored William Lloyd Garrison’s right of opinion. It was his exercise of...

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3. Frederick Douglass’s Public Body

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pp. 83-128

As an abolitionist orator during the 1840s, Frederick Douglass confronted his audiences with the presence and power of a body that Garrison, in his capacity as editor of The Liberator, could have only approximated. It was Douglass who appeared as the representative of...

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4. Faneuil Hall: The Civic Institution of the Imaginary

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pp. 129-165

Then, as now, a walk through Boston’s streets could provide the historically minded citizen with memories not only of a successful revolution but of founding fathers—James Otis, John Hancock, Samuel Adams— whose names instilled a sense of reverence for the nation’s founding...

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5. Thoreau’s Civic Imagination

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pp. 167-203

Henry David Thoreau’s participation in the abolition movement was governed by the same principles that underwrote the New England abolitionists’ public sphere, and that is why it should be considered to be marginal. With his “experiment in living,” Thoreau expressed in dramatic...

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6. Douglass’s Sublime: The Art of the Slave

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pp. 205-250

As a former slave, Frederick Douglass knew full well the challenge of translating the narrative of political modernity into the present moment. While Garrison and his white abolitionist colleagues could endorse the past and the future of the American republic as a reference for their...

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Conclusion: A Cosmopolitan Point of View

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pp. 251-260

In his most forceful abolitionist speeches, Douglass foresaw little future for the antislavery struggle other than a face-to-face encounter with racism. He meant the rhetorical enactment of still more “agitation” within the abolitionists’ public sphere to signal the incompatibility of...

Notes

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pp. 261-317

Index

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pp. 319-331