John Brown : Abolitionist or Psychopath

Topics: Slavery, Slavery in the United States, American Civil War Pages: 11 (3653 words) Published: June 25, 2013
John Brown: Abolitionist or Psychopath
His 378
August 3, 2012

John Brown Part 1
On October 16, 1859 John Brown led a group of men to Harper’s Ferry, Virginia and raided the Federal arsenal. Brown wanted to create an army of African-Americans that would in the end help release black slaves in the Southern states. Brown and his men manage to capture the arsenal but the town people of Harper’s Ferry surrounded the buildings and trapped Brown and his men. Brown had intended to steal the government’s weapons and start a rebellion on slavery in the south. Brown’s attempt to start an abolitionist movement caused the Southerners to believe that the North was in favor of the movement and helped start the Civil War between the North and South. People thought that Brown and his cause made him a hero, while others saw him as a mad man. Historians have argued about the fact if John Brown was really a mad man or a true abolitionist against slavery.

John Brown was tried and hung for his part in the raid and charged with murder, treason, and conspiracy against the federal government. Brown trained twenty-two men including his own sons on a farm in Maryland near Harpers Ferry. He used the name of Isaac Smith so people would not know who he really was and collect money for his plan to raid the Federal Armory. The raid lasted about two days with sixteen whites and five black men as his army against the federal government to end slavery in the South. There were ten members of the raid that were killed and five were captured along with John Brown. Two more of Brown’s men were captured in Pennsylvania and returned to Harpers Ferry to stand trial. Brown was tried on October twenty-seventh and put to death for his part in the raid. The North called Brown a martyr for being against slavery and the South said that he was a mad man. John Brown Part 1

John Brown and his actions helped to push the North and South into the start of the Civil War. Brown was a very religious person even as a young child and saw slavery as a sin against God in his eyes. As a young child, Brown witness a beating of a slave and that left him being a frantic against the act of slavery. He was born a child of New England Puritans and had a religious upbringing. Brown was very passionate about ending slavery and it became his main focus in his life as an adult. But was religion the real reason for Brown to plan the attack on the Federal Armory or was there another reason for the raid? Brown did not have a large army of men to be able to pull off such an attack with only twenty-two men.

Brown thought that the only way to end slavery was with the use of violent. Some of Brown’s followers were tried of the peaceful methods to establish the abolition movement of freeing the slaves and he enlisted men who would help to end slavery with more violent means. The problem with this is that using violent was against his religious background and did not make any sense with his upbringing from his parents. Brown took part in the act that was called “Bleeding Kansas”. Bleeding Kansas was a violent fight between the pro and anti-slavery settlers. Brown wanted to help Kansas to become a free state in which slavery was abolished.

Because of the reputation that Brown received in his part of the Bleeding Kansas rebellion, he decided that he needed to start a revolt against slavery using a more violent approach such as guerrilla warfare against the south with the help of black slaves and others fighting the same cause. Brown started planning his attack against Harpers Ferry. He had befriended Frederick Douglass who was a free black and told him of his plan to start a slave John Brown Part 1

rebellion. Douglass told Brown that his plan was suicidal and refused to help Brown with his plan. Brown was willing to die for the cause of men being treated as equals and not being owned by Southern white plantation owners. Brown believed that in God’s eyes that all people...

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