In Lynch Law In All Its Phases, Wells drew upon rhetoric and arguments similar to those used by abolitionists such as Douglass and Garrison in their writings and oratory during the antebellum era. Much like antebellum abolitionists, Wells provided her audience with extensive and carefully-documented facts, reciting damning statistics about the utter lack of any evidence that lynched men and women had committed, or even been accused of, any crime prior to their murders.
Like abolitionists, Wells described the full horror of the violence perpetrated against African-Americans within American society in excruciating detail, refusing to spare her audience the horrible details. And, like antislavery activists throughout the antebellum era, Wells deliberately linked the cause of racial justice with the right to free speech, invoking the abolitionist martyr Elijah P. Lovejoy, who had been murdered in 1837 for his refusal to cease publishing his antislavery newspaper, and emphasizing the fact that her own life was currently in danger, simply because she had dared to publish the truth about lynching.
For invoking her right to free speech, Wells told her audience, I was to be dumped into the river and beaten, if not killed I was to be hanged in front of the court house and my face bled. And, perhaps most powerfully, Wells, like the generations of abolitionists who had come before her, insisted to her audience that America’s brutal and unjust treatment of African-Americans made a mockery of its claim to be a Christian nation, the flower of nineteenth-century civilization. Throughout Lynch Law In All Its Phases, Wells linked the antilynching fight to the antebellum struggle for abolition, and insisted that if the fair and equal world of which abolitionists had dreamed was ever to be a reality, the terrible crime of lynching needed to be brought to an absolute and permanent end.