John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry

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HIST 128

Essay 3 John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry

John Brown’s beliefs about slavery and activities to destroy it hardly represented the mainstream of northern society in the years leading up to the Civil War. This rather unique man, however, has become central to an understanding and in some cases misunderstandings about the origins of the Civil War. The importance of Brown’s mission against slavery was colossal to accelerating the civil war between the North and the South. His raid on Harpers Ferry in1859 divided the United States like nothing else before, and could have been the main event leading to the Civil War. Although Brown was a major factor toward antislavery, he was not the first Abolitionist to take serious action in order to reach his goal. William Lloyd Garrison is another example of a white reformer that was serious in his intent to destroy slavery, no matter what it took. Garrison’s newspaper, The Liberator, was first published on January 1, 1831. He published this newspaper to spread his opinion on slavery, saying that it was “a national sin and demanded immediate emancipation” (Earle 6). This newspaper, and the start of a public view of antislavery in general, led to many more serious events. For example, Nat Turner’s revolt that led to the killing of 55 white men, women and children was directly blamed on abolitionists such as Garrison. John Brown’s father was involved in one of the early abolitionist movements, and was the reason why John began his interest in ending slavery in America. John Brown read The Liberator at his father’s house for the first time in 1833. After reading this newspaper, Brown was encouraged to become much more active in abolitionism. He thought that God was about to “bring the South’s slaves ‘out of the house of bondage’” (Earle 7). He started to recruit people from his hometown to agree to take in runaway slaves and house them until they are safe. He vowed to adopt a young African American son to give him...
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