Wendell Phillips

Wendell Phillips was the Prohibition (Prohibition/Labor Reform) candidate for governor of Massachusetts in 1870.  He received a total of 21,946 votes, of which 8000 were cast on the Prohibition ticket.
     What follows is excerpted from a much longer article in Wikipedia, located by Adam Seaman:

Phillips was born in Boston on 29 November 1811, to Sarah Walley and John Phillips.  His father was a wealthy lawyer, politician, and philanthropist who was the first mayor of Boston.
     He attended Boston Latin School, then Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1833.      He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar and opened a practice in Boston. 
     William Lloyd Garrison soon converted Phillips to the abolitionist cause.  Phillips gave up his law practice in 1836 and devoted his life to abolitionism.
      At Harvard, Phillips’ professor of oratory had been Edward T. Channing, a critic of flowery speakers such as Daniel Webster, who emphasized the value of plain speaking.  Under Channing’s influence, Phillips became a noted speaker for the abolitionist cause – honored as “Abolition’s Golden trumpet.”
     Wendell Phillips met fellow abolitionist Ann Terry Greene shortly after commencing his abolition work.  They were engaged in 1836, and their marriage lasted 46 years.  His wife’s discriminatory treatment at an international anti-slavery meeting in London resulted in Phillips becoming active, also, in the women’s rights movement.
     Phillips was a member of the National Woman's Rights Central Committee, which organized annual conventions throughout the 1850s, published its Proceedings, and executed plans adopted by the conventions. He was a close adviser of Lucy Stone, and a major presence at most of the conventions, for which he wrote resolutions defining the movement's principles and goals.
     Despite his belief that Ulysses S. Grant was now suited for the presidential office, and dissatisfied with Grant’s and the Republican’s refusal to endorse his comprehensive Reconstruction program of “land, education, and the ballot,” Phillips supported both Grant and the Republicans in 1868. 
     After the Reconstruction Era, however, Phillips turned his attention to other matters.  He became an advocate of Indian rights, arguing that the 15th Amendment granted citizenship to Amerinds as well as to Blacks, and he became a temperance advocate, realizing that the alcohol traffic underlies many social problems.
     Phillips suffered from heart disease during his last years, but continued speaking out against the ills of society until the last few days of his life.  He died at home, in the Charlestown district of Boston, on 2 February 1884.  His body laid in state in Faneuil Hall,\then was interred at the Granary Burying Ground.
     Wendell Phillips was the epitome of a Prohibition Party reformer!

This peerless orator was born in Boston, November 20, 1811.  He as the eighth child of his parents, who were conspicuous for wealth, refinement, and social position.  His father was the first mayor of Boston.  Wendell graduated from Harvard, near the head of his class, in 1831, and from the law school three years later, being at once admitted to practice at the Suffolk County bar.
     With his advantages of wealth, position, and mental ability, he might have aspired to almost any public honor.  But, while yet a very young man, he cast in his lot with the despised Abolitionists, led by William Lloyd Garrison, who was then publishing The Liberator.  His maiden speech, as an anti-slavery advocate was delivered in November, 1837, in Faneuil Hall, Boston, at a public meeting called to consider the assassination of Rev. Elijah Lovejoy.  The address was so eloquent and impressive that it moved his audience to thunderous applause.  Still, so unpopular was the Abolition cause, he was, even by that speech, ostracized by the aristocracy of New England.  But he persisted in his course for 40 years, through obloquy and misrepresentation, until the war accomplished his great ideal of emancipation; then, like the great soul he was, he said:  “Close the ranks and go forward to new reforms.”
     He had always been an advocate of woman suffrage, labor-reform, and temperance.  In September, 1970, he was nominated for governor of Massachusetts by the Labor-Reform and Prohibition parties.  In his letter of acceptance he said:  “The only bulwark against the dangers of intemperance is Prohibition….  This can only be secured by means of a distinct political organization.” In the campaign that followed, he made many speeches, arguing with great force against license and for complete Prohibition.  One of his most powerful speeches against license was delivered in February, 1880, in the State House in Boston, before a committee of the legislature.  Another remarkable oratorical effort of his, in his best vein, brilliant, scathing, and pitiless, was his review of Dr. Howard Crosby’s anti-total-abstinence discourse, in Tremont Temple, January, 1881.
      Mr. Phillips was married in 1837, to Ann Terry Greene, a cultured, wealthy woman, through whose instrumentality he had been converted to the anti-slavery cause.  He died, February 2, 1884, in Boston.  The city went into mourning for him, and to use the words of one of his friends, “all the land as his pall-bearer.”

— Data from An Album of Representative Prohibitionists (1895)

Also see bibliographies:

  • Sherwin, Oscar (1958) – Prophet of Liberty:  The Life and Times of Wendell Phillips:  NYC, Bookman Associates