The Enigma of John Brown

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John Brown was an American abolitionist, born in Connecticut and raised in Ohio. He felt passionately and violently that he must personally fight to end slavery. This greatly increased tension between North and South. Northern mourned him as a martyr and southern believed he got what he deserved and they were appalled by the north's support of Brown. In 1856, in retaliation for the sack of Lawrence, he led the murder of five proslavery men on the banks of the Pottawatomie River. He stated that he was an instrument in the hand of God. On October 16, 1859, he led 21 men on a raid of the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. His plan to arm slaves with the weapons he and his men seized from the arsenal was thwarted, however, by local farmers, militiamen, and Marines led by Robert E. Lee. Within 36 hours of the attack, most of Brown's men had been killed or captured. Brown was hanged on Dec. 2, 1859. He became a martyr for many because of the dignity and sincerity that he displayed during his popular trial. Before he was hanged he gave a speech which was his final address to the court that convicted him. And he was thankful to Bob Butler for letting him send that text in electronic form. "This court acknowledges, too, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed, which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament, which teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me, further, to remember them that are in bonds as bound with them. I endeavored to act up to the instruction. I say I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons. I believe that to have interfered as I have done, as I have always freely admitted I have done, in behalf of his despised poor, I did not wrong but right. Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingles my blood further with the blood of my children...
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