The IHS is pleased to announce our latest online discussion series for graduate students, “Radical Liberalism and the Abolition Movement.” Without a doubt, the abolition of slavery (in the United States and elsewhere around the world) represented one of the greatest leaps forward in human dignity and liberty in history. For all of the abolition movement’s shortcomings, failures, and infighting, it remains a critical example of radical liberal ideas meeting the historical moment and pushing for key political changes. This discussion series will explore the Jacksonian roots of abolitionism, from New York’s “Locofoco” movement, to Rhode Island’s little-known civil war, and the odd, fractious political combinations that ultimately made abolition happen.

Sessions will take place on Zoom, from 2:00-4:00pm, eastern time.


September 9: William Leggett’s Radicalism– Lawrence White, Democratick Editorials: Essays in Jacksonian Political Economy by William Leggett, (Indianapolis, Liberty Fund) 1984.

October 7: The Equal Rights Party–Fitzwilliam Byrdsall, The History of the Loco-Foco, or Equal Rights Party: It’s Movements, Conventions, and Proceedings, with Short Character Sketches of Its Prominent Men, (New York: Clement & Packard) 1842.

November 11: The Rhode Island Revolution–Erik Chaput, The People’s Martyr: Thomas Wilson Dorr and His 1842 Rhode Island Rebellion (University Press of Kansas) 2013.

December 9: Abolitionism After the Locofocos–Corey Brookes, Liberty Power: Antislavery Third Parties and the Transformation of American Politics