John Brown's Raid

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There are many things in American history; both good and bad. John Brown’s raid an Harpers Ferry, in particular, is one of those things. John Brown, a white abolitionist, is one of those ‘things in history,’ or rather, a history maker, for what he did and who he was is quite the story and had a huge impact on early America and the start of the Civil War. Brown is described by some as the man that “Killed slavery, sparked the Civil War, and seeded Civil rights” and as “An American who gave his life that millions of other Americans might be free.” It is still today a controversial argument about whether or not John Brown was an accomplished hero or a failed anti-slavery terrorist.

John Brown was born in Connecticut in 1800 and became caught up in the abolitionist movement around 1835. Brown, in 1855, had himself and his sons move to Kansas. Kansas was deeply divided over the slavery issue. On May 24th, 1856, Brown and his sons murdered five men who owned no slaves, but supported slavery. They were not apprehended and spent the next five years saving up money collected from wealthy abolitionists in order to establish a colony for runaway slaves. To do this they needed weapons, which spurred the decision to capture the arsenal at Harpers Ferry.

John Brown led a group of twenty-one men for the assault. Sixteen were white, three were free African Americans, one was a fugitive slave, and one was a freed slave. He led so little men on the raid because 1) He had no more men to lead and 2) He expected there to be a uprising of both African American slaves and of anti-slavery whites to come to the town of Harpers Ferry and join his group of men. No such uprising occurred. Brown had asked both Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman to join him in the attack, but only Tubman agreed. Douglass pinned this plan as a suicide mission, so he refused. While Tubman was a great tribute to Browns anti-slavery cause, she was not able to go on the on the actual raid for unknown...
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