(especially prior to the Civil War) a person who advocated or supported the of slavery in the U.S.
a person who favors the of any law or practice deemed harmful to society:
the abolitionists who are opposed to capital punishment.
Contemporary Examples

But the consequence of ignoring him is that abolitionists seem indifferent to his pain.
Conn. Ends Death Penalty, But Not For 11 Men On Death Row David R. Dow April 6, 2012

For abolitionists, it is about the possibility that even people who do something horrible can change.
Death Penalty Survives In California, But Three-Strikes Law Cut Back David R. Dow November 8, 2012

If California dumps the death penalty this November, abolitionists will probably dance in the streets.
Life Without Parole Is A Terrible Idea David R. Dow April 26, 2012

The position of Christian abolitionists was the exact opposite.
Desperately Seeking a GOP Hero Stanley Crouch September 24, 2009

Until Haiti, abolitionists focused on either gradual emancipation, or simply ending the slave trade, not slavery itself.
How Blacks Freed Themselves from Slavery Eric Herschthal February 17, 2014

Historical Examples

Mrs. Larue says that the abolitionists are opposed to Mr. Carter because he doesn’t hold their ultra opinions.
Miss Ravenel’s conversion from secession to loyalty J. W. de Forest

The abolitionists of the North have been grossly misrepresented.
The Works of Whittier, Volume VII (of VII) John Greenleaf Whittier

Sharpe was at that time the acknowledged head of British abolitionists.
The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus American Anti-Slavery Society

abolitionists were sharply divided in this presidential campaign.
Susan B. Anthony Alma Lutz

I also thought I was a Whig, much to the sorrow of my mother, whose sympathies were with the abolitionists.
Confessions of Boyhood John Albee


1795, from abolition + -ist. In Britain, applied 20c. to advocates of ending capital punishment.

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