March 3, 2020



Many Adventists today are aware that Joseph Bates, one of the co-founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was an abolitionist. Nevertheless, historians and biographers have not previously sought to ascertain what kind of abolitionist Bates was or document how he participated in the movement. This article explores these questions and demonstrates that Bates was a radical Garrisonian abolitionist. Unlike some abolitionists who were committed solely to the immediate abolition of slavery and had little interest as to the fate of blacks after that, Bates was also an outspoken advocate for equal rights for the oppressed.

Conversion to Garrisonian Radicalism

Though there were many notable antecedents, historians often attribute the rise of the immediate abolition movement (“immediatism”) to William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879), who began to publish The Liberator, a weekly paper dedicated to immediatism, in Boston in 1831. One year later, Garrison assisted in organizing the New England Anti-Slavery Society (renamed the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in 1835) and in 1833 he co-founded the American Anti-Slavery Society—the first national society devoted to the immediate abolition of slavery in America. Garrison insisted that true Christians could not support the national government or established churches because they sanctioned slavery through law and fellowshipped with people who upheld the “peculiar institution.” In addition to advocating political and ecclesiastical comeouterism, Garrison’s broad-based peace platform also included promotion of pacifism and equal rights for blacks and women. Bates actively supported all of Garrison’s reforms and defended him publicly during the abolition schism of the late 1830s and early 1840s.

In the early 1830s, before he accepted immediate abolitionism, Bates had been an advocate of colonization. Propagated by the American Colonization Society (ASC), this scheme claimed it would gradually eliminate the problem of slavery by compensating slaveholders for their “property” while also making America white by shipping former slaves (most commonly) back to Africa. Many abolitionists had begun their anti-slavery reform in colonization circles, but beginning in the late 1820s, Garrison began to expose the ASC for what it was: a racist cause that actually perpetuated slavery by directly funding it. As he did so, northerners began to propagandize Garrison as a dangerous threat to national peace and northern respectability.

Joshua V. Himes, a close friend and colleague of Garrison’s, convinced Bates—also Himes’ close friend—that colonization was morally bankrupt and that Garrison had the right solution. But immediatism was a very radical scheme in antebellum America and most northerners scorned Garrisonians and sometimes inflicted violence upon them. In October 1835, for example, Garrison was nearly lynched by an angry mob in Boston. After working closely with Garrison for three years, however, Himes was convinced that it was worth the risk to follow Garrison because he “fearlessly and faithfully” exposed the sin of slavery and exhorted Americans “to an immediate repentance.” In February 1835, as Bates became attracted to Garrisonian abolition, Himes encouraged him to resolve “to support Mr. G. in all his efforts to disenthral [sic] and elevate the colored race.”

Convinced of a newfound moral duty, Bates fervently committed himself to Garrisonian abolition. The Garrisonians also immediately accepted Bates into their circle. Joseph and Prudence Bates regularly hosted traveling abolitionists in their home, including Samuel J. May, one of Garrison’s closest friends and confidants. In fact, in April 1835—barely two months after Bates’ conversion to immediatism—May referred to Bates in The Liberator as “our zealous fellow-laborer, Capt. Joseph Bates.”

Activism in Anti-Slavery Societies

On April 23, 1835, Bates and about 40 other abolitionists in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, organized the Fairhaven Anti-Slavery Society (FASS). The FASS was organized as an “auxiliary to the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society,” which was in turn a lower organization of the American Anti-Slavery Society—both of which remained deeply influenced by Garrison. According to its constitution, FASS was organized “for the avowed purpose of effecting the immediate and total abolition of Slavery” and recognized “the people of color, both bond and free, as members of the same human family, entitled to the protection of the same just and equal laws.” The FASS, therefore, ardently advocated equal rights for free blacks in the north as well as the immediate abolition of slaves in the south.

To be an abolitionist in the 1830s placed one in a tiny radical minority, even in New England. Indeed, Garrisonians were despised by the majority of white northerners, who mocked the idea of immediatism and upheld “jim crow” laws to subjugate the free blacks who were scattered among them. For this reason, it is not surprising that a major anti-abolitionist meeting convened in the Fairhaven-New Bedford area a few months after the FASS was founded. Though at least nine gentlemen of standing were members of the FASS, the anti-abolitionists in this region claimed no fewer than twenty prominent citizens within their ranks. The “very large and respectable” crowd of anti-abolitionists dwarfed the small FASS and when they gathered in New Bedford’s Town Hall on August 22, 1835, officers were elected, a committee was formed, and a series of resolutions aimed against the Fairhaven and New Bedford abolitionists were adopted. Though these white men professed to detest the “evil of slavery” they objected to immediatism or any other means of abolishing slavery that might sacrifice “the rights” of “the white population,” endanger their “domestic safety,” or “impoverish” them in any way. As Bates later recalled, the FASS “drew down the wrath of a certain class of our neighbors” who “denounce[ed] us in very severe terms. . . . Threats were often made that our meetings would be broken up, &c., but fortunately we were left to go onward.”

On November 16, 1836, Bates joined members from various anti-slavery societies in Bristol County, Massachusetts, to found the Bristol County Anti-Slavery Society (BCASS). Bates was an elected officer in this society, serving as one of the Counselors from 1836 to 1842, and remained actively involved in the BCASS while serving as FASS President from 1839 to 1842. Simultaneously, Bates was an active member of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society as well, supporting it financially and serving as a delegate to annual meetings.

Along with Garrison and his followers, Bates was an advocate for women’s rights. The abolitionists who followed leaders such as Lewis and Arthur Tappan, broke away from Garrison in 1839–1840 in part because they opposed women participating in abolitionist societies or petitioning against slavery. The “woman question” exploded when Abby Kelly was nominated and narrowly elected to serve on an American Anti-Slavery Society business committee and the Tappans responded by leading a walk-out to form a rival organization. Bates sided with Garrison on women’s rights. He was acquainted with Kelly personally and attended anti-slavery meetings with her. Bates also supported his wife, Prudence, in her radical abolition activism. Prudence matched her husband’s zeal, and on December 1, 1837, she co-founded the Fairhaven Ladies Anti-Slavery Society (FLASS), serving as vice president and member of the executive committee for a number of years. Joseph Bates also spoke out on the issue of women participating in the movement through the authority of the FASS and BCASS. For example, as northern white men began to oppose women acting politically through petitioning congress, the BCAS
S responded directly, “That woman, when she pleads for the oppressed, and labors to meliorate and relieve their condition, acts worthy of herself, and of her high duties as an intellectual, moral and accountable being.”

Abolition and the Christian Connexion

While Bates supported Garrisonian abolition through participation in anti-slavery societies, he also worked with radical Christian abolitionists. Bates was a leader in the Christian Connexion and in the Fall of 1836, he united with Joshua V. Himes and nineteen Christian Connexion leaders at the Massachusetts Christian Conference on Slavery. This conference convened in New Bedford to condemn churches and members for supporting slavery. These men resolved that it was their “sacred obligation” to “proclaim the holy displeasure of heaven against all unrighteousness” and firmly declared their “unqualified reprobation of every palliative, excuse, or apology, which may be urged in extenuation of this sin” of slavery. In doing so, they responded to Christians—north and south—who used the Bible to defend slavery.

Of particular note was their rejection of the so-called Myth of Ham, which was derived from a racist reading of Genesis 9:25–27. According to Sylvester A. Johnson, virtually all Americans believed that this text explained racial origins with “the idea that the ‘white, yellow, and black’ people of the earth were the three basic racial groups of human beings that corresponded to the three sons of Noah.” Though the white and yellow races were believed to have descended from Japheth and Shem, blacks, it was claimed, were the descendants of Ham—a race they linked with God’s curse on Canaan because they believed “Ham was the ultimate representation of the heathen.” With this theological assumption in hand, Americans—north and south—claimed that slavery and racial hierarchies were sanctioned by God. Abolitionists, such as Himes and Bates, were among the tiny minority that rejected this myth.

Though radical abolitionists constructed a variety of rebuttals to the myth of Ham, at this moment in 1836, one Christian Connexion representative responded for the attending delegates, “[I]f we receive Noah’s curse, according to its etymological meaning, it will be found to pour its contents not upon the head of the poor African, but on the southern soul-and-body merchant. . . . as ‘Canaan’ signifies merchant or trader; it might read—‘Cursed be the trader in human beings!’” In this manner, the Christian abolitionists transferred the curse that God supposedly placed upon black people to the slaveholders themselves for actively supporting Babylon’s marketplace (cf. Rev. 18:13). Furthermore, this radical interpretation of Genesis 9 involved a recasting of morality and color. He argued, “These soul-and-body traders are the true children of Ham; or, rather, of Darkness, which is the true significance of Ham.” Whereas most Americans associated darkness with black skin, these Christians claimed that darkness was a reference to sin—not bodies. The curse of Canaan did not outline the origin of race, therefore, but was a “prophetic denunciation” of slavery that was “just, and finds its certain accomplishment in the history of this infernal traffic!”

Bates criticized proslavery Christians through other means as well. On June 5, 1841, for example, he led his Christian Connexion congregation on Washington Street to reestablish itself as a staunch abolitionist church. After chastising non-abolitionist Christians for their support of slavery, the church “Resolved, That we cannot receive to our fellowship, as a chairman or christian minister, a slaveholder, or an apologist for slavery.” Bates’ congregation then agreed to publish their resolutions in The Liberator.

Abolitionist Petitions and Radical Reform

In the fall of 1839, Joseph Bates joined the Millerite movement. In the same year he was elected president of the FASS and his responsibilities and activities in the abolition movement increased. Though previous FASS presidents did not undertake the task, Bates initiated annual petitioning campaigns among the male citizens of Fairhaven. In Fairhaven, this political tactic was first practiced by Susan Allen, FLASS president, who began to circulate petitions among the ladies at the beginning of 1839. Prudence Bates, FLASS vice president, actively supported Allen’s petition campaigns and may have been the one who inspired her husband to follow the ladies’ lead, but it is more likely that Bates’ took up this task as a defense of women’s rights generally. Female petitioners in Massachusetts had taken up the cause to end anti-miscegenation laws in their states in 1839 and had been ridiculed by members of the state legislature and the public for supposedly lusting after black men (why else, they wondered, would white women want to abolish the intermarriage law!). To disprove nonsensical claims, men throughout the state began to sign and circulate abolitionist petitions in 1840. Bates was among them and on January 1, 1840, during his first term as FASS president, he began to circulate petitions to be sent to the Massachusetts State Legislature, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate.

Petitioning on abolitionist issues was clearly an unpleasant task. One abolitionist petitioner referred to the act of gathering signatures as “that most odious of all tasks” in part because it brought abolitionists into close, personal, contact with people who could be violently opposed to their political views. It was also risky for persons to sign abolitionist petitions because the public act of confessing one’s political views could result in signers being shunned or abused by neighbors and friends. Prudence and Joseph Bates, like all other abolitionist petitioners, therefore took great risks in circulating and signing petitions.

Joseph Bates gathered signatures for dozens of petitions on a variety of issues, many of which have been destroyed, including eradication of the gag laws that forbade discussion of slavery in Congress, protestation that Texas and Florida be admitted as slave states, for the abolition of the interstate slave trade, and extinction of slavery in the District of Columbia. Though all of these issues were critical, Bates placed himself at the extreme end of the abolitionist spectrum when he petitioned that the United States recognize the independence of Haiti, that the New England “jim crow” laws be eliminated, and that the interracial marriage law in Massachusetts be abolished. Whereas many abolitionists were willing to sign other petitions, these subjects attracted significantly fewer signers.

Haiti was a hot-button issue during the antebellum years primarily because the Haitian slaves led a twelve-year revolt that resulted in their independence on January 1, 1804. The Haitian Revolution, in fact, was “the only instance of a successful slave rebellion in world history” and as a result it inspired the deepest dread in proslavery Americans—particularly in the south—who feared that slaves in their country would attack whites. For this reason, the word “Haiti” could be used a racial slur, similar to the words “nigger” and “jim crow,” to demean black people, white abolitionists, and the spaces they inhabited. Radical abolitionists, including pacifists such as Garrison and Bates, championed Haiti, however. From their perspective, slaves—just like the American patriots during the Revolutionary War—were justified in using violence to gain freedom. More importantly, since most Americans believed that black people were incapable of governing themselves, radical abolitionists actively promoted Haiti as proof of the contrary. Despite this fact, the United States refused to recognize Haitian independence until 1862. More than two decades before this, however, Bates petitioned the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives “to recognize, forthwith, the i
ndependence of the Haytian Government.” Not only does this petition highlight Bates’ belief in the equality of blacks and their capacity to govern themselves, but it also demonstrates his concern for international injustices.

Though it is commonly assumed that “jim crow” laws emerged in the South after Reconstruction ended in 1877, these racist laws were invented in the North in the late eighteenth century and upheld in this region throughout the decades before the Civil War. Just like their southern counterparts of the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries, northern “jim crow” laws segregated whites and blacks in a variety of ways. For example, black people were often denied suffrage, placed in segregated and inferior schools, required to travel in separate train cars, forbidden to eat at the same table as whites, and buried in non-white cemeteries. Similarly, Protestant congregations in the North segregated blacks from whites and enacted church gag laws that forbid the discussion of slavery in religious settings.

Bates was repulsed by these manifestations of racism and fought against them as he vehemently denounced the evils of slavery. As a result, he petitioned for “the repeal of all laws” that made “distinctions on account of complexion,” and targeted the railroad in particular. In 1842, for example, Bates protested that the railroad companies and their officers did not have “the right of depriving any class of persons of the use of any of their cars, on the sole ground of a difference of Colour” and neither did they have the right “of insulting, assaulting and ejecting white passengers [i.e., white abolitionists]” when they intentionally sat with black persons in the segregated train cars as an act of protest. Though these laws were not abolished through state legislation, the railroad companies listened to equal rights activists and by the end of 1843 had discontinued racial segregation practices. According to Richard Archer, “Sit-ins, petitions, boycotts, appeals to regional distinctiveness, and economic and political pressure had won the day.” Bates was among the most active in this political agitation and played a central role in the Fairhaven area.

Many white Americans found interracial marriage to be the most repulsive of acts. Since 1705, Massachusetts had laws in place that prevented whites from intermarrying with any “negro or molatto [a mixed black person]” and in 1786 intermarriage with Native Americans was also outlawed. Bates became opposed to these laws and found them, on principle, to be outrageous for numerous reasons. Most importantly, the interracial marriage law was “Wrong, in the sight of God,” an insult to the Constitution “since it denies that ‘all men are born equal,’” and a grievance to the North because it was “an evident vestige of the Slave code.” The interracial repeal movement in Massachusetts began to gather traction in 1839 and gained increasing support over the next four years. The tide finally began to turn in 1842. On February 4 the issue was again brought before the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the New-Bedford Mercury and Boston Daily Atlas reported that, the petition of “Jos. Bates and [53] others of Fairhaven, relating to the intermarriage law . . . [was] read and referred.” Eleven days later, the House took up the intermarriage bill again and after considerable debate it passed to a third reading. The draft bill soon passed this third reading by a vote of twenty-four to nine, but was narrowly defeated in the Senate by just three votes (136 in favor of repeal to 140 against). In the fall, however, the Liberty Party won ten senators and state representatives, “enough seats to split the Massachusetts House and Senate in 1843 and shape the year’s legislation.” The Massachusetts Legislature repealed the interracial marriage ban in 1843 in part because reformers, such as Joseph Bates, articulated to his fellow citizens the moral wrongs of such laws.


Joseph Bates’s views were not exceptional among his Millerite or Sabbatarian Adventist peers. Rather his radicalism provides a window to catch a glimpse of the worldview of early Adventism. For example, numerous Adventists expressed their political views by signing abolitionist petitions. Many of these names are well-known to students of Adventist history, such as David Arnold (the Sabbath and Sanctuary doctrines were brought together during a Conference held in his barn in 1848), John Byington (the first General Conference president), J. B. Frisbie (a prominent Adventist minister), William and Mary Gifford (close friends of Joseph Bates and in-laws of Heman S. Gurney, who traveled with Bates to Maryland to evangelize the slaves), Elias Goodwin (in charge of the Adventist book depot in Oswego, New York), Stockbridge and Louisa Howland (“second parents” to James’ and Ellen White’s children), Mary Nichols (wife of Otis Nichols, publisher of the 1850 prophecy chart), Jonathan T. Orton (one of the leaders in Rochester, New York, which was the place of Adventist headquarters in the early 1850s), Ezra A. Poole (Adventist minister and agent for the Review and Herald), and Betsey and Elizabeth White (James White’s mother and oldest sister).

Though Adventists expressed their views through petitioning, they also voiced their radical political views in sermons and in print. Adventists regularly denounced slavery and argued for equal rights. Uriah Smith expressed this eloquently in his epic poem, “The Warning Voice of Time and Prophecy,” first published in the Review and Herald in 1853. Drawing inspiration from the church’s teaching on Revelation 13:11-18, Smith lamented:

Millions that groan beneath oppression’s rod,

Beneath the sin-forged chains of slavery,

Robbed of their rights, to brutes degraded down,

And soul and body bound to other’s will,—

Let their united cries and tears, and groans,

That daily rise, and call aloud on Heaven

For vengeance, answer; let the Slave reply.

O land of boasted freedom! thou hast given

The lie to all thy loud professions, fair,

Of justice, liberty and equal rights;

And thou hast set a foul and heinous blot

Upon the sacred page of liberty; 

And whilst thou traffickest in the souls of men,

Thou hurl’st defiance, proud, in face of Heaven

Soon to be answered with avenging doom.

Bates was one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and, in many ways, was representative of its constituents. Along with other leaders, he helped forge a biblical understanding of social justice that should be remembered and applied to our lives each day as we live and share the gospel of Jesus Christ in the spirit of our radical pioneers.

1)  Virgil Robinson, Cabin Boy to Advent Crusader: The Life Story of Joseph Bates (1960; repr., Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 1992), 102-109; Godfrey T. Anderson, Outrider of the Apocalypse: Life and Times of Joseph Bates (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press, 1972), 42; Ronald D. Graybill, “The Abolitionist-Millerite Connection,” in The Disappointed: Millerism and Millenarianism in the Nineteenth Century, 2nd ed., Ronald L. Numbers and Jonathan M. Butler, eds. (Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1993), 142; George R. Knight, Joseph Bates: The Real Founder of Seventh-day Adventism, Adventist Pioneer Series, George R. Knight, ed. (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2004), 52-54; Gary Land, “Historical Introduction,” in Autobiography of Joseph Bates, Adventist Classic Library, George R. Knight, ed. (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2004), x-xi.

2) Henry Mayer, All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery (New York: W. W. Norton, 1998).

3)  Joseph Bates and Clother Gifford, “Fairhaven A. S. Society,” The Liberator, October 11, 1839, 163.

sp; Mayer, All on Fire, 200-210.

5)  J. V. Himes to Capt. J. Bates, February 16, 1835, in The Liberator, February 28, 1835, p. 2, cols.4-5.

6) Mayer, All on Fire, 104-105, 107, 114, 116, 119-120, 128-129, 200, 216, 238, 293, 387.

7)  S. J. May, “Rev. Mr. May’s Tour,” The Liberator, May 2, 1835, 70.

8)  “[Fairhaven Anti-Slavery Constitution],” New-Bedford (MA) Mercury, August 21, 1835, p. 2, col. 6; E. Sawin and J. F. Terry, “Meeting at Fairhaven,” New-Bedford (MA) Mercury, August 21, 1835, p. 2, col. 3; Joseph Bates, The Autobiography of Elder Joseph Bates (Battle Creek, MI: Steam Press, 1868), 236-237.

9)  Richard Archer, Jim Crow North: The Struggle for Equal Rights in Antebellum New England (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).

10)  Rowland R. Crocker, John Williams, Jr., and William H. Taylor, “Public Meeting,” New-Bedford (MA) Mercury, August 28, 1835, p. 1, col. 3.

11) Bates, The Autobiography of Joseph Bates, 236-237. For other challenges the FASS faced, see J. Clarke, “To Lemuel Tripp, President; Warren Delano, Chairman; Nath’l Hathaway, Recording Secretary; and the Members ‘One and All,’ of the Fairhaven Anti-Slavery Society,” New-Bedford (MA) Gazette & Courier, November 16, 1835, p. 1, col. 7; Lemuel Tripp, Warren Delano, and Nath’l Hathaway, “[Meeting of the Fairhaven Anti-Slavery Society],” New-Bedford (MA) Gazette & Courier, November 16, 1835, p. 1, col. 6; Nath’l Hathaway, “To Mr. J. Clarke,” New-Bedford (MA) Gazette & Courier, November 16, 1835, p. 3, col. 1; J. Clarke, “To the Board of Managers of the Fairhaven Anti-Slavery Society,” New-Bedford (MA) Gazette & Courier, November 23, 1835, p. 1, col. 4; J. Clarke, “To the Board of Managers of the Fairhaven Anti-Slavery Society,” New-Bedford (MA) Gazette & Courier, November 23, 1835, p. 1, cols. 4-5; Nath’l Hathaway, “To Mr. J. Clarke,” New-Bedford (MA) Gazette & Courier, November 23, 1835, p. 3, cols. 1-2; J. Clarke, “To the Editor,” New-Bedford (MA) Gazette & Courier, November 30, 1835, p. 1, col. 6; Nath’l Hathaway, “Mr. Editor,” New-Bedford (MA) Gazette & Courier, November 30, 1835, p. 1, col. 6; J. Clarke, “To the Editor,” New-Bedford (MA) Gazette & Courier, November 30, 1835, p. 1, col. 6; Nath’l Hathaway, “To Mr. Clark,” New-Bedford (MA) Gazette & Courier, November 30, 1835, p. 2, col. 6; “[Editorial Note],” New-Bedford (MA) Gazette & Courier, November 30, 1835, p. 2, col. 6; Nath’l Hathaway, “To Mr. J. Clarke,” New-Bedford (MA) Gazette & Courier, November 30, 1835, p. 2, col. 6; “Mr. Clarke and the Fairhaven Anti-Slavery Society,” New-Bedford (MA) Gazette & Courier, December 7, 1835, p. 1, col. 4; “Slavery in Massachusetts—No. 2,” Massachusetts Abolitionist, January 21, 1841, p. 2, cols. 3-4.

12)  “Taunton Anti-Slavery Convention,” The Liberator, December 10, 1836, 198; Otis Thompson and B. Baylies Sisson, “Bristol County Anti-Slavery Society,” The Liberator, April 28, 1837, 70; “Bristol County A. S. Society,” The Liberator, October 27, 1837, 125; P. Crandall, “Bristol County Anti-Slavery Convention,” New-Bedford Mercury, October 5, 1838, p. 2, col. 3; “Rodney French and Curtis C. Nichols, “Bristol County Anti-Slavery Society,” The Liberator, November 23, 1838, 186; Rodney French and Wm. C. Coffin, “Bristol County Anti-Slavery Society,” The Liberator, September 3, 1841, 143.

13) Joseph Bates and Clother Gifford, “Fairhaven A. S. Society,” The Liberator, October 11, 1839, 163.

14)  “A Call to the New-England Anti-Slavery Convention,” Liberator Extra, May 14, 1836, [1]; “Quarterly Meeting of the Mass. A. S. Society,” The Liberator, March 29, 1839, 51; “Quarterly Meeting of the Mass. A. S. Society,” Massachusetts Abolitionist, April 4, 1839, 26; Henry G. Chapman, “Receipts into the Treasury of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Soc. From the 2d, to the 13th of April,” The Liberator, April 19, 1839, 63; Henry G. Chapman, “Treasurer’s Account,” The Liberator, September 4, 1840, 143; S. Philbrick, “Treasurer’s Account,” The Liberator, October 15, 1841, 167.

15)  Mayer, All on Fire, 261-284; Susan Zaeske, Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery & Women’s Political Identity, Gender & American Culture, Thadious M. Davis and Linda K. Kerber, eds. (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), 145-164.

16)  “New Societies in This State,” The Liberator, February 9, 1838, 23; “Fairhaven Female Anti-Slavery Society,” The Liberator, April 5, 1839, 55; Beth A. Salerno, Sister Societies: Women’s Antislavery Organizations in Antebellum America (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2005), 168, 177.

17)  “Bristol County A. S. Society,” The Liberator, October 27, 1837, 125.

18) Knight, Joseph Bates, 38-41.

19)  “Massachusetts Christian Conference on Slavery,” The Liberator, November 12, 1836, 182.

20)  Sylvester A. Johnson, The Myth of Ham in Nineteenth-Century American Christianity: Race, Heathens, and the People of God, Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice, Linda E. Thomas, ed. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 1-26.

21)  “Massachusetts Christian Conference on Slavery,” The Liberator, November 12, 1836, 182; cf. “N. E. Christian Convention,” The Liberator, May 19, 1837, 83.

22)  Joseph Bates, “More Church Action,” The Liberator, August 20, 1841, 135.

23)  Knight, Joseph Bates, 58-59.

24)  Joseph Bates and Clother Gifford, “Fairhaven A. S. Society,” The Liberator, October 11, 1839, 163.

25).  “List of Petitions Presented to the Legislature of Massachusetts at Its Present Session,” The Liberator, March 15, 1839, 42.

26)  Archer, Jim Crow North, 140-144.

27)  Lydia Maria Child to Henrietta Sargent, November 18, 1838, in Lydia Maria Child, Selected Letters, 1817–1880, Milton Meltzer, Patricia G. Holland, and Francine Krasno, eds. (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1982), 93.

28)  Zaeske, Signatures of Citizenship, 54, 107.

29)  In 1840, for example, Bates was able to gather 80 signatures for abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, but only 28 people were willing to petition for the recognition for Haitian independence and only 21 for the eradication of Massachusetts’ “jim crow” laws. “Massachusetts Legislature: List of Petitions Presented to the Late Session of the Legislature,” The Liberator, April 3, 1840, 54; Petition of Joseph Bates and 28 Others of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, for the Independence of the Haytian Government, January 1, 1840, HR 26A-H1.7, Record Group 311, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

30)  Manisha Sinha, The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition (New Have, CT: Yale University Press, 2016), 34-35.

31)  Archer, Jim Crow North, 8-9. See, for example, J. N. T. Tucker, “Letter from J. N. T. Tucker,” National Anti-Slavery Standard, October 13, 1842, 74; Judith Wellman, “Uncovering the Freedom Trail in Auburn and Cayuga County, New York,” A Cultural Resources Survey of Sites Relating to the Underground Railroad, Abolitionism, and African American Life in Auburn and Cayu
ga County, New York, Sponsored by City of Auburn Historical Resources Review Board and Cayuga County Historian’s Office and Funded by Preserve New York, September 2005, 244-245.

32)  Petition of Joseph Bates and 28 Others of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, for the Independence of the Haytian Government, January 1, 1840, HR 26A-H1.7, Record Group 311, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

33)  Archer, Jim Crow North; Kyle G. Volk, Moral Minorities and the Making of American Democracy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 134ff., 145; Sinha, The Slave’s Cause, 140-141; Norman K. Dann, Practical Dreamer: Gerrit Smith and the Crusade for Social Reform (Hamilton, NY: Log Cabin Books, 2009), 397, 527; Strong, Perfectionist Politics, 49, 101; Mayer, All on Fire, 229.

34)  “Massachusetts Legislature: List of Petitions Presented to the Late Session of the Legislature,” The Liberator, April 3, 1840, 54; 

35)  Petition of Joseph Bates and 54 Others of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Respecting the Rail Road Companies, February 1, 1842, Senate Unpassed Legislation 1842, Docket 11057, SC1/series 231, Digital Archive of Massachusetts Anti-Slavery and Anti-Segregation Petitions, Massachusetts Archives, Boston, Massachusetts,$223i, Harvard Dataverse, V4.

36)  Archer, Jim Crow North, 108.

37)  Amber D. Moulton, The Fight for Interracial Marriage Rights in Antebellum Massachusetts (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015), 10-12.

38)  Petition of Joseph Bates and 43 Others of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, to Repeal the Marriage Law Respecting White and Colored People, House Unpassed Legislation 1840 [sic], Docket 800, SC1/series 230, Digital Archive of Massachusetts Anti-Slavery and Anti-Segregation Petitions, Massachusetts Archives, Boston, Massachusetts,$14i, Harvard Dataverse, V5; Petition of Joseph Bates and 53 Others of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Respecting the Intermarriage Law, February 1, 1842, House Unpassed Legislation 1842, Docket 1153, SC1/series 230, Digital Archive of Massachusetts Anti-Slavery and Anti-Segregation Petitions, Massachusetts Archives, Boston, Massachusetts,$190i, Harvard Dataverse, V5.

39)  Archer, Jim Crow North, 145.

40)  “Massachusetts Legislature,” New-Bedford (MA) Mercury, February 11, 1842, p. 1, col. 6; “Massachusetts Legislature: House of Representatives,” Boston (MA) Daily Atlas, February 5, 1842, p. 2, col. 4.

41)  “Massachusetts Legislature,” New-Bedford (MA) Mercury, February 18, 1842, p. 2, cols. 2-3.

42)  Moulton, The Fight for Interracial Marriage Rights, 124-145; Louis Ruchames, “Race, Marriage, and Abolition in Massachusetts,” The Journal of Negro History 40, no. 3 (July 1955): 273.

43)  Uriah Smith, “The Warning Voice of Time and Prophecy, Part II,” The Advent Review, and Sabbath Herald, June 23, 1853, 18.