Tuesday, July 12, 2011

John Brown

“We drew in two loads of hay this morning and Will Holmes drew in two for us and then it rained and we did not do anything more before dinner.  After dinner, Mike and I ground a mover knife and then he went to cultivating corn and I went up town and got my boots mended.  When I came home, the hay was so dry that we drew in two loads more.  The weather cleared off and the wind blew very brisk this afternoon.”

For some reason, when I first saw this picture, I was reminded of John Brown.  However, A look at the picture below shows that they look nothing alike.

John Brown (May 9, 1800 – December 2, 1859) was a revolutionary abolitionist in the United States, who advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to abolish slavery for good. He led the Pottawatomie Massacre during which five men were killed in 1856 in Bleeding Kansas and made his name in the unsuccessful raid at Harpers Ferry in 1859. Later that year he was tried and executed for treason against the state of Virginia, murder, and conspiracy. Brown has been called "the most controversial of all 19th-century Americans."
Brown's attempt in 1859 to start a liberation movement among enslaved African Americans in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) electrified the nation. He was tried for treason against the state of Virginia, the murder of five pro-slavery Southerners, and inciting a slave insurrection and was subsequently hanged. Southerners alleged that his rebellion was the tip of the abolitionist iceberg and represented the wishes of the Republican Party to end slavery. Historians agree that the Harpers Ferry raid in 1859 escalated tensions that, a year later, led to secession and the American Civil War.
Brown first gained attention when he led small groups of volunteers during the Bleeding Kansas crisis. Unlike most other Northerners, who advocated peaceful resistance to the pro-slavery faction, Brown demanded violent action in response to Southern aggression. Dissatisfied with the pacifism encouraged by the organized abolitionist movement, he reportedly said, "These men are all talk. What we need is action—action!" During the Kansas campaign he and his supporters killed five pro-slavery southerners in what became known as the Pottawatomie Massacre in May 1856 in response to the raid of the "free soil" city of Lawrence. In 1859 he led a raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (in modern-day West Virginia). During the raid, he seized the armory; seven people were killed, and ten or more were injured. He intended to arm slaves with weapons from the arsenal, but the attack failed. Within 36 hours, Brown's men had fled or been killed or captured by local pro slavery farmers, militiamen, and U.S. Marines led by Robert E. Lee. Brown's subsequent capture by federal forces seized the nation's attention, as Southerners feared it was just the first of many Northern plots to cause a slave rebellion that might endanger their lives, while Republicans dismissed the notion and said they would not interfere with slavery in the South.
Historians agree John Brown played a major role in the start of the Civil War. David Potter (1976) said the emotional effect of Brown's raid was greater than the philosophical effect of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and that his raid revealed a deep division between North and South. Brown's actions prior to the Civil War as an abolitionist, and the tactics he chose, still make him a controversial figure today. He is sometimes memorialized as a heroic martyr and a visionary and sometimes vilified as a madman and a terrorist. Some writers, such as Bruce Olds, describe him as a monomaniacal zealot, others, such as Stephen B. Oates, regard him as "one of the most perceptive human beings of his generation." David S. Reynolds hails the man who "killed slavery, sparked the civil war, and seeded civil rights" and Richard Owen Boyer emphasizes that Brown was "an American who gave his life that millions of other Americans might be free." For Ken Chowder he is "at certain times, a great man", but also "the father of American terrorism." The song "John Brown's Body" became a Union marching song during the Civil War.
Leesah

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