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Research Note

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On July 4, 1826, the American republic celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with great fanfare. In this research note, the author provides a transcript of an oration delivered in China, Maine on that day. The speaker was local schoolmaster Elijah P. Lovejoy, better known for his tragic death eleven years later. By then an abolitionist newspaper editor in Alton, Illinois, Lovejoy was killed in 1837 by a pro-slavery mob. Lovejoy’s 1826 oration, then, serves as both a compelling look at the celebration of America’s Jubilee in rural Maine and an early example of the ideological convictions which led Lovejoy to abolitionism. The author is a retired United Church of Christ minister. He has published many books and journal articles, including one in the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly about Elijah Lovejoy’s only child, Edward P. Lovejoy.