A high point of anti abolitionist sentiment, which demonstrates the depth of racism throughout northern free states, are the events surrounding the murder of Reverend Elijah P. Lovejoy in 1837.
Lovejoy left St. Louis, Missouri because of the hostility inspired by his abolitionist newspaper The Observer. He eventually settled just across the Missouri River in Alton, Illinois, where he continued to publish his newspaper.
While in Alton, Lovejoy had three printing presses thrown into the river. Lovejoy resisted the efforts to throw his fourth press into the river and was killed by a proslavery mob. Abolitionists everywhere mourned him as a martyr for free speech and for the cause of freedom, and a monument stands in Alton to honor his sacrifice.