Owen Lovejoy (1811-1864)

Owen Lovejoy was a Congregational minister, abolitionist leader, and Republican congressman from Illinois (1856-64). Born in Maine, Lovejoy began his tenure as minister at the Hampshire Colony Congregational Church in Princeton, Illinois in 1838. Less than one year earlier a pro-slavery mob had murdered his brother Elijah for his abolitionist activities in Alton, Illinois. Despite the threat of more violent reprisals, Owen Lovejoy took prominent public stands against the peculiar institution and took part in the Underground Railroad. In 1856 the people of northern Illinois made Lovejoy one of the first Republicans elected to the United States Congress. There, despite his avowed ultra-abolitionist principles, Lovejoy became one of Abraham Lincoln's strongest supporters, despite the president's seemingly slow progress toward emancipation.

Some of Owen Lovejoy's speeches are available on Lincoln/Net. Please click on the link to view the speeches.


Magdol, Edward. Owen Lovejoy: Abolitionist in Congress. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1967.