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Historical
See other Historical Articles

Title: 1859 John Brown and Harper’s Ferry
Source: [None]
URL Source: http://www.compromise-of-1850.org/john-brown-and-harpers-ferry-1859/
Published: Feb 13, 2017
Author: COMPROMISE OF 1850 HERITAGE SOCIETY
Post Date: 2017-02-13 19:10:51 by A K A Stone
Keywords: None
Views: 449
Comments: 5

On the night of October 1859, John Brown and 21 of his followers raided the Harper’s Ferry Federal Arsenal in Virginia. In 1855 Brown had also perpetrated the Pottawatomie Creek Massacre in Kansas as a result of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, resulting in five deaths. He was said to be acting on God’s orders. His goals were to free slaves and overthrow the white government to establish a free black state.

Who was John Brown?

John Brown was born in Torrington, Connecticut on May 9, 1800. His family moved to Ohio where he spent his childhood, his father owned a successful tannery. At age 16 he moved to Plainfield, Massachusetts and then to Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania he opened his own tannery and raised cattle, a business learned from his father. From his first marriage he had seven children and from his second, thirteen more.

The economic crisis of 1839 left him in great financial loss and in order to get out of debt he tried different business ventures. In 1846 he moved to Springfield, Massachusetts where he met Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass. These were his transformative years where he learned and got involved in abolitionist activities. He believed that peaceful resistance by the abolitionist movement and the incremental abolition policy of its supporters had shown to be ineffective in the fight against slavery. He considered that insurrection was the only way to overthrow the institution of slavery in America. As a response to the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act Brown founded the League of Gileadites, a militant group to prevent the capture of fugitive slaves.

The Harper’s Ferry raid

His radicalization led him to a plan to recruit an army of 50 to 100 guerrilla fighters to attack slaveholders in Virginia and Maryland. Slaves would flee to the mountains and in turn free more slaves. Eventually white slaveholders would flee and the institution of slavery would collapse. According to his plans a domino effect would continue south and further undermine slavery there.

At the end of 1856 Brown returned to New England to raise funds from merchants and affluent abolitionist to purchase ammunition and weapons to carry on with his plans. He prepared a constitution that would create a government in the freed territories. John Brown confided in Frederick Douglass asking him for help recruit fighters. Douglass refused arguing that it was a suicidal attempt.

On October 1859 Brown and 21 of his followers were ready to attack the Federal Arsenal. He left 3 of his men as guards and led 18 of them to the attack. At the beginning they were successful as they met almost no resistance. They captured the federal armory and arsenal holding 60 hostages. News of the raid reached Baltimore and soldiers were dispatched. Brown was seriously wounded but captured alive. Ten of his men were killed including two of his sons, six were captured and five escaped.

John Brown was taken to Virginia where he was tried for treason, sentenced and hanged. His statements during his trial inspired the nation and Brown became a martyr and hero of the abolitionist movement.

“Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I say, let it be done.”

–John Brown, statement at his sentencing on Nov. 2, 1859

The Raid of Harper’s Ferry

Video by Smithsonian Magazine

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#1. To: A K A Stone (#0)

This is an interesting series of articles you've published about the run-up to the last civil war.

With the hatreds running wild in America today, it's possible to envision another one.

Vicomte13  posted on  2017-02-13   22:36:41 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: A K A Stone (#0)

ICYMI

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Brown's_raid_on_Harpers_Ferry

Brown's party of 22 was defeated by a company of U.S. Marines, led by First Lieutenant Israel Greene. Colonel Robert E. Lee was in overall command of the operation to retake the arsenal.

nolu chan  posted on  2017-02-14   1:51:26 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: nolu chan (#2)

ICYMI = ???

Si vis pacem, para bellum

Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.

There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."Theodore Roosevelt-1907.

I am concerned for the security of our great nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within." -- General Douglas MacArthur

Stoner  posted on  2017-02-14   11:36:32 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Stoner (#3)

ICYMI = In case you missed it. I was just adding a bit of trivia to the story.

nolu chan  posted on  2017-02-14   19:33:54 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: nolu chan (#4)

OK, thanks.

Si vis pacem, para bellum

Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.

There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."Theodore Roosevelt-1907.

I am concerned for the security of our great nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within." -- General Douglas MacArthur

Stoner  posted on  2017-02-14   19:46:40 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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