Lovejoy the Abolitionist
Late in July 1837 Elijah Lovejoy finally identified himself completely with the abolitionists. He had slowly been moving in that direction. First he saw no great evil in slaver; then he favored returning some Negroes to Africa and freeing others gradually; now he believed in immediate freedom for all slaves, an extremely unpopular position in Alton.
For a second time a group of men broke his printing press into pieces and tossed it in the river. As public opinion turned against Elijah Lovejoy, some supporters deserted him. Ministers who quietly had been standing up for Lovejoy now "washed their hands" of the whole thing. "Both sides are wrong" they said. Businessmen who thought the new newspaper would be one more solid business for the city were now either hostile or frightened into silence.