William Lloyd Garrison was the product of a religious home. He was an apprentice at a Quaker anti-slavery newspaper, The Genesis of Universal Emancipation, which called for the gradual end of slavery. Garrison went on to found his own paper, called The Liberator. Garrison wrote regarding slavery: "On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak or write with moderation. I am in earnest. I will not equivocate- I will not excuse and I will be heard."
In 1833, Garrison joined Lewis Tappan and Theodore Wel to establish a national organization dedicated to the abolition of slavery, called "The American Anti-Slavery Society." The society soon went on to unofficially sponsor the "underground railroad" of runaway slaves.
Opposition to the actions of Garrison's organization was strong. In 1837, abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy was murdered as he tried to protect his press from anti-abolitionists in Alton, Illinois. In 1853, a Boston mob seized Garrison and paraded him around the streets with a noose around his neck. That same year, another mob burned down the organization's headquarters in Philadelphia.
The abolitionists themselves were often divided on the best means of achieving their ends. The split between radicals and moderates continued to deepen; and finally. in 1840, a split over womens' rights brought the American Anti-Slavery Society to an effective end