Passionate Liberator

Passionate Liberator : Theodore Dwight Weld and the Dilemma of Reform

3.5 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
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Recounts the life and career of Theodore Dwight Weld, the abolitionist held most responsible for the success of the antislavery movement in the United Statesshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 140 x 220mm | 581g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 3ill.
  • 019502771X
  • 9780195027716

Review quote

"A sensitive and persuasive depiction of [Weld's] personality and of the anxieties and spiritual crises that beset his...long life."--American Historical Reviewshow more

Review Text

The life of Theodore Weld (1803-1895) spanned a century and influenced it, though according to biographer Abzug (History, University of Texas, Austin), Weld's life was not so much a physical adventure as a spiritual odyssey. While being groomed for the clergy, Weld suffered a nervous collapse at Andover. Converted by the great revivalist Charles Finney, he headed west to Lane Seminary in Ohio, only to lead rebellious students away when school officials declined to denounce slavery. Having found his vocation as an anti-slavery orator, Weld stumped the country for abolition, then married his sister-abolitionist Angelina Grimke, standing with her and sister Sarah for women's rights when other abolitionists urged suppression of that minor issue. (He once received a letter addressed to Mr. Theodore Grimke.) But in 1844, having lost his voice, Weld retired with the Grimkes from public life to hoe and trench their New Jersey farm; home and family (three children) replaced evangelical mission at his life's center. From then on he taught at the "Weld Institute" and Dio Lewis' Young Ladies' Boarding School in Lexington, Mass., and elsewhere. Angelina, her health mined by childbearing, died slowly and painfully, and Sara repressed the need to "utter myself," but Theodore went right on into his nineties 'teaching and completing his "spiritual journey from Orthodoxy to Liberal Christianity." Abzug's account is overburdened at times by Freudian analysis, but mainly it's an interesting, informed tale of how a rather plain fellow bent to his service people far more vigorous than himself. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

6 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 17% (1)
4 17% (1)
3 67% (4)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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