November 13 – The Liberty Party

Slavery may not have been abolished in the United States until 1865, but for many years before that, there were people who believed that slavery should be ended.  On November 13, 1839, a group of people with those same beliefs convened in New York for the first meeting of the Liberty Party.  The Liberty Party was the first political party in the United States that was anti-slavery.  The party believed in political action to stop slavery, and nominated James G. Birney to run for president.  This former Kentuckian was actually a former slave owner, who had decided to join the abolitionist movement.  While the party realized the ultimate futility of using political action to end slavery in the South, they did hope to use political pressure and action to limit the spread of slavery from the states that it already had strongholds in.  While the party did gain momentum in local races, the party never could garner enough support to justify the presidential nominee, even though they presented two presidential nominees.  Finally, after their second nominee withdrew from the race, the Liberty Party disbanded in 1848.  Many of their supporters went on to join the Free Soil Party, which also opposed slavery.  Although it has a short life span, the Liberty Party did start uniting those who opposed slavery.



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