Sunday, December 2, 2007

Abolitionist John Brown

Today we feature a portrait of John Brown. He was a notorious abolitionist of the 1850's who believed that violent tactics were warranted for the cause of abolishing slavery. In 1859 he attempted to lead an armed insurrection to free the slaves. He led a raid on the Harper's Ferry Arsenal, with the intent of taking the weapons from the arsenal, arming the slaves, and leading a revolt. He killed 7 people and injured 10 in the attack. The revolt was suppressed, and John Brown was arrested by US troops under the command of a distinguished US army officer by the name of Robert E. Lee. Brown was tried for treason and convicted. Many believe that the provocative tactics used by Brown so inflamed passions on both sides of the slavery debate that they were a major contributor to the outbreak of the Civil War.
John Brown was hung on this day, December 2, in the year 1859. On the day of his hanging, he wrote these prophetic words, "I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood". And the war came.

6 comments:

  1. Your last three pictures are a lesson in morality. The first portrays a man who killed other men because he was greedy and amoral. The second portrays a woman who encouraged mass slaughter because she was full of hate. The third portrays an individual who took the lives of others because he loved his fellow man.

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  2. Interesting observation . . .

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  3. In school (at least in my sorry excuse for a public school), we never really discussed the intensity of the passions that lead up to the Civil War. Last year around this time I read a book called "Lincoln's Melancholy" by Josua Wolf Shenk, which besides being a novel take on Lincoln's life, did an excellent job describing the backdrop that led up to the conflict. For someone looking for a readable context of mid 19th century America, I highly recommend it.

    And for an observation completely unrelated to John Brown:

    For some reason, I'm drawn to the texture of his jacket. I don't know if it's because it's an unusually bold pattern by today's standards, or if it's because I've never really noticed fabric textures in old photos before I started visiting this blog. Regardless, today's suits are boring.

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  4. i think he though he had the right to do that the slaves were suffering and he thought that he needed to help them in some sort of way even if it is with war or weapons

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  5. i think that people should not him just because of what he did maybe he did it because he felt the need of a better community. I kniow that violence is not the way to fix the problems but he thought that it was the best way and most easiest THE WAR

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  6. You mention that "Many believe that the provocative tactics used by Brown so inflamed passions on both sides of the slavery debate that they were a major contributor to the outbreak of the Civil War." Six men secretly funded John Brown's raid. They were called the Secret Six. One of the six, Gerrit Smith was from Peterboro, NY. A meeting was held in Peterboro in response to Brown's execution. Much of the content of the meeting coinsides with your above statement. I have a blog about that meeting. Feel free to check it out.

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