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Adin Ballou Biography

(April 23, 1803 - August 5, 1890)

Adin Ballou was born in Cumberland, Rhode Island. From a very early age Ballou was a strongly religious man. At the age of ten he converted his entire family to the Restorationist religion during the Christian Connexion. Nine years later Ballou married Abigail Sayles. He eventually decided to pursue a career as a Universalist preacher. In 1829, Abigail died after giving birth, prompting Adin Ballou to remarry the following year to Lucy Hunt.

After preaching for several years, the preacher began to get involved in social and political issues, specifically temperance, abolition, and government resistance. Ballou became a major player in the abolitionist scene, working with prominent figures such as William Lloyd Garrison. Ballou, however, practiced Christian non-resistance and refused to take up violent means to support any of his beliefs.

When working against the practice of slavery, Ballou also began to develop strong anti-government feelings based upon the belief that government violated individual sovereignty given by God. Based upon devout religious faith, temperance, abolitionist ideals, and anti-government sentiment, Ballou would lead the Hopedale community until his death in 1890. While Ballou refused to be labled as an anarchist, he upheld many anarchist ideals and, in the last years of his life, communicated with the famed Russian anarchist Leo Tolstoy.

Unitarian Universalist biography.

Page about Ballou's family at Unitarian Universalist site.

Wikipedia on Ballou


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