Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Political Science

Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Robert Pepperman Taylor


This paper attempts to respond to Andrew Delbanco's 2011 essay "The Abolitionist Imagination" and its conclusions about the abolitionists. While Delbanco's concerns about the abolitionists' mindsets present valid concerns, he simplifies the nuances between the abolitionists' political philosophies and wrongly portrays Nathaniel Hawthorne as the political ideal. By applying Max Weber's political ethics to the citizen rather than the politician as a political actor, this response examines different abolitionist figures, such as William Lloyd Garrison, Henry David Thoreau, David Walker, Henry Highland Garnet, and Frederick Douglass, through a liberal lens similar to Delbanco's. This analysis also suggests that Douglass may present the most politically ideal approach to abolition rather than Hawthorne.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.