Image of Joshua Giddings


Lifetime: 1795 - 1864 Passed: ≈ 160 years ago


Politician, Slavery


United States

Joshua Giddings

Joshua Reed Giddings (October 6, 1795 – May 27, 1864) was an American attorney, politician, and a prominent opponent of slavery. Giddings was born in Canandaigua, New York, and moved to Ohio in 1806. He became a lawyer and served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1826 to 1831. In 1838, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served until 1859.

Giddings was a fierce and outspoken abolitionist. He believed that slavery was a moral evil and that the federal government had a responsibility to abolish it. He was a leading critic of the Gag Rule, a House rule that prohibited members from introducing petitions calling for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. In 1842, Giddings was censured by the House for introducing a series of resolutions that condemned the slave trade.

Giddings was also a strong supporter of Native American rights. He believed that Native Americans had been unjustly dispossessed of their lands and that the federal government should protect their rights. He was a vocal critic of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which forced thousands of Native Americans to relocate from their ancestral lands to Indian Territory.

Giddings was a controversial figure during his lifetime. He was hated by many southerners and was often the target of death threats. However, he was also respected by many abolitionists and anti-slavery activists. He was a founding member of the Free Soil Party, which was formed in 1848 to oppose the expansion of slavery into the western territories.

Giddings retired from Congress in 1859 and moved to Canada. He died in Montreal in 1864.

Giddings' Legacy

Giddings is remembered as a leading abolitionist and a tireless advocate for freedom. He was a courageous and principled man who was willing to risk his life to fight for what he believed in.

Giddings' Notable Works

  • Speeches in Congress (1853)
  • The Exiles of Florida (1858)
  • History of the Rebellion: Its Authors and Causes (1864)

Giddings' Philosophy

Giddings was a strong believer in individual liberty and equality. He believed that all people, regardless of race or origin, were entitled to the same rights and opportunities. He was also a strong advocate for democracy and the rule of law.

Interesting Facts About Joshua Reed Giddings

  • Giddings was a self-taught man. He never attended college, but he educated himself by reading widely and studying law.
  • Giddings was a prolific writer. He published numerous articles and speeches on abolition, Native American rights, and other political issues.
  • Giddings was a close friend of Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist and orator.

Giddings was a complex and fascinating figure who made significant contributions to the abolitionist movement. He was a man of great courage and conviction, and his legacy continues to inspire people today.

Books by Joshua Giddings

The Exiles of Florida Cover image

The Exiles of Florida

History Non-Fiction
Fear Prejudice Justice Struggle Cruelty Liberty America United States

The Exiles of Florida, written by Joshua R. Giddings and first published in 1858, is a searing indictment of the United States government's role in the Florida Wars, a series of conflicts that took place between the United States and the Seminole peo...