Garrison and “class” issues

“It is true that Garrison — as an artisan turned small proprietor  — understood freedom in the nineteenth-century sense of self-ownership rather than as the traditional craft ideal of owning the means of production.  The definition illuminated the contrast between Northern free labor and Southern slavery, but minimized for him the significance of ‘wage slavery’ as a political critique.  Nonetheless, Garrison reacted with heartfelt sympathy and anger when he saw firsthand, during a tour of Rhode Island cotton mills in 1832, the severity of the regimen imposed on the operatives, including women and children.  In a long report to the Liberator he spoke feelingly about the need for the ten-hour day and delivered a stern warning to ‘our rich capitalists’ about the dangers inherent in oppressing labor. ”  (Source: All on Fire, by Henry Mayer, page 117)

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