Jeremiah Hacker

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Jeremiah Hacker (1801–1895 ) was a reformer and journalist who lived and wrote in Portland, Maine from 1845 to 1866. Born in Brunswick, Maine to a large Quaker family, Hacker moved to Portland as a young adult where he worked as a penmanship instructor, a teacher, and a shopkeeper. Eventually he sold his shop in 1841 and took to the road as an itinerant preacher during the Second Great Awakening. He traveled through Maine, telling people to leave their churches and seek their inner light, or "that of God within."

Returning to Portland in 1845, he began writing and printing a reform journal called The Pleasure Boat. He soon became known as an outspoken journalist who railed against organized religion, government, prisons, slavery, land monopoly, and warfare. Unhappy with how juvenile offenders were treated in the adult prisons, Hacker was influential in building public support for a Maine reform school which became the third in the country, after Philadelphia and Boston. Because of the culture of reform that existed in 19th-century New England, The Pleasure Boat enjoyed wide circulation until the approach of the American Civil War. On the brink of a war that many fellow reformers thought was unavoidable and morally justifiable, Hacker advocated pacifism, and lost many readers. By 1864 he started another newspaper entitled The Chariot of Wisdom and Love. After the Great Fire of 1866, Hacker left Portland and retired to a life of farming in Vineland, New Jersey, where he died in 1895.

References[edit]

  • Pritchard, Rebecca M. (2006). The Life and Times of Jeremiah Hacker, 1801-1895. University of Southern Maine.