[ABOLITIONIST BROADSIDE] - [Western Anti-Slavery Society]
Union with Freemen - No Union with Slaveholders. Anti-Slavery Meetings! [caption title]
Salem, Ohio: Homestead Print, [ca. 1850]. Broadside, 16 x 10¾ inches. A few short closed edge tears, light toning and foxing.
A rare and striking abolitionist broadside from Salem, Ohio, the seat of the Western Anti-Slavery Society, and a small but important center of progressive movements through much of the 19th century.
As suggested by their advertisement's headline, "Union with Freemen--No Union with Slaveholders," the members of the Western Anti-Slavery Society were radical Garrisonian abolitionists, who believed that the U.S. Constitution was fundamentally a pro-slavery document and therefore unfit to bind together a morally just nation. Formed in the mold of Garrison's New England Anti-Slavery Society (founded 1832) and American Anti-Slavery Society (1833), the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society first assembled in 1833 in Putnam, Ohio, and in 1839 moved its headquarters to Salem and became known as the Western Anti-Slavery Society. From 1845 to 1861, the Society published a weekly newspaper, The Anti-Slavery Bugle, printed for the first five weeks in New Lisbon, Ohio, and for all subsequent issues in Salem. The text of the broadside, a printed blank form for advertising abolitionist meetings, reads in full as follows: "Union with Freemen - No Union with Slaveholders. ANTI-SLAVERY MEETINGS! Anti-Slavery Meetings will be held in this place, to commence on [blank] in the [blank] at [blank] To be Addressed by [blank] Agents of the Western ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY. Three millions of your fellow beings are in chains - the Church and Government sustains the horrible system of oppression. Turn Out! AND LEARN YOUR DUTY TO YOURSELVES, THE SLAVE AND GOD. EMANCIPATION or DISSOLUTION, and a FREE NORTHERN REPUBLIC!" OCLC lists only two copies, at Yale and Williams College; the Library of Congress holds an additional copy.