Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. English Dept.


Cedric Gael Bryant

Second Advisor

John P. Turner


I decided to research the story of Elijah Parish Lovejoy and look for some connections between his writing and journalism today. I wanted to find ways in which the past can inform the present. First, I studied Lovejoy’s biography to draw a causal line from his formative years to his writing career. This way, I could examine how his writings were influenced, why they received such a strong reaction from the public, and what the relationship is between the journalist and journalism – personal and universal truths. I looked closely at his religious history because – as I anticipated before starting this project – that had the largest affect on Lovejoy’s beliefs. Because of my research on his religion, I was able to critically examine his career as a journalist and the ways his religion and other things influenced his writing. Then, I followed Lovejoy’s journey throughout the United States to pick up clues on how his perspective changed with his location. Next, I researched the First Amendment of the United States where it is stated, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Since Lovejoy is hailed as a martyr for freedom of the press, I wanted to point out why. Although Congress may not make a law outlawing religions or religious teachings nor will they stop people from trying to write, speak, or gather, but that does not mean that everyone will agree to go along with these laws.


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Elijah Parish Lovejoy, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Martyr, Civil War, Colby College

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