John Brown's Raid Analysis

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John Brown was a driven man, an abolitionist who was relentless in his opposition to slavery. Ultimately, he justified violence as a means to realize what he considered the most noble of goals – the destruction of slavery. Like his Calvinist father before him, Brown considered slavery a moral blight. But unlike many other white abolitionists, Brown mixed easily with African Americans, prompting Frederick Douglass, the most famous 19th century black abolitionist, to write that: Though a white gentleman, he is in sympathy a black man and as deeply interested in our cause as though his own soul had been pierced by the iron of slavery. In 1849, John Brown settled his family in the black community of North Elba in the New York Adirondacks.…show more content…
Taking a leap in space and time, you will debate the moral and political implications of Brown's raid in the voice of historical characters, circa 1859-1860. For additional overviews and perspectives: Re-evaluating John Brown's Raid, by Karen Whitman (from West Virginia History) John Brown, 1800-1859 (Territorial Kansas Online at the University of Kansas) John Brown's Holy War (The American Experience/PBS) John Brown's Raid (Shotgun's Home of the American Civil War, a site constructed by an amateur Civil War and Confederate history buff) *Republican politicians, including Abraham Lincoln, made a point of publicly distancing themselves from Brown's Harper's Ferry Raid and tactics. In his famous Cooper Union speech on February 27, 1860, Lincoln asserted: You charge that we stir up insurrections among your slaves. We deny it: and what is your proof? Harper's Ferry! John Brown!! John Brown was no Republican; and you have failed to implicate a single Republican in his Harper's Ferry enterprise. But no matter how much Republicans protested any link with Brown, it did not stop Democratic Party invective and claims that the Republican Party was responsible for Harper's Ferry.

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