John Brown: The Abolitionist's Death Which Sparked The Civil War

There are some historical figures whose very existence fuels the fire of everything that came after them. He speaks not only for himself but for a moment, as if he has been absorbed in the ghosts of history. John Brown, an abolitionist who gave up talking in the name of the movement and turned to violence, is one of those people. Brown didn't always have a tumultuous start, but by his final days, his actions not only scorched relations between the North and the South, they lit the fuse for the Civil War.

John Brown's Early Life

Born on May 9, 1800, in Torrington, Connecticut, into a family of abolitionists, young John Brown followed directly in the footsteps of his father, Owen Brown. Five years after his birth, Brown and his family moved to Hudson, Ohio, where he opened a tannery and operated a safe house for slaves trying to reach the north. An evangelical family, the Browns believed in the pursuit of personal righteousness and lived strictly according to the Bible.

At the age of 16, Brown moved back to the Northeast, where he studied to become a congregation minister, but when he could not afford the tuition, he went to work with his brother in his own leather factory. returned to Ohio. Soon, Brown moved his family further north to create a safe haven for fugitives from the south.

John Brown Tannery

After marrying Dianthe Lusk in 1820, Brown moved his young family to New Richmond, Pennsylvania, where he bought 200 acres. He reserved this space for the opening of a new tannery and the construction of a cabin, barn and a hidden area, made in his own piece of heaven to hide any slaves. Between 1825 and 1835, Brown is said to have helped 2,500 former slaves escape to freedom.

In 1831, an illness struck the Brown family and he lost his wife and their newborn son. His business took a hit and everything turned upside down in Pennsylvania. A bright spot in this run of misfortune was Mary Ann Day, a young woman from the area who had fallen for Brown. The two married and Brown gave birth to 13 more children. However, if anything, that only worsened their financial situation, and after moving their new family to Franklin Mills, Ohio, Brown's new tannery went bankrupt and four of their children died of dysentery. Another move brought Brown in 1846 to Springfield, Massachusetts, where he found an entire town devoted to the anti-slavery movement.

Business trouble

Brown was initially pleased with the city's commitment to the anti-slavery movement and spent much of his time working with his business partner, Simon Perkins, to represent the interests of Ohio's wool producers in the Northeast. He attended the Free Church, a congregation founded by African-American abolitionists, and he attended lectures by Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth. After a lengthy discussion with Brown, Douglass supposedly found himself doubting the peaceful end of slavery.

When the U.S. passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which mandated that officials in free states assist in the return of escaped slaves and impose penalties on those who helped slaves escape their captivity, with Brown establishing the League of Gileadites. Of. Inspired by a story in the Bible of a group of Israelites fighting an invading army on Mount Gilead, Brown founded the group to protect any escaped slaves who made their way to Springfield.

It is likely that Brown would have lived in Massachusetts had it not been for his controversial dealings with the Massachusetts business elite. The group made a fortune on pricing wool, reducing the standard price for wool across the country. Brown traveled to Europe to establish relationships with European manufacturers, but he preferred the low prices set by farmers in western Massachusetts. Brown and Perkins's firm incurred a loss of $40,000, ending their partnership.


After leaving Massachusetts, Brown became a nomad, traveling from New York to Ohio and eventually protecting Kansas from Southerners in the name of collecting money and weapons, who wanted to bring the region to the Union.

By 1856, Brown was living in Kansas with his adult sons and became angry at what he saw as cowardly actions on the part of anti-slavery groups. They ransacked newspaper offices and homes, led by local sheriffs, and even witnessed pro-slavery support of anti-slavery senator Charles Sumner's cane. On May 24, 1856, Brown brought a group of abolitionist settlers to Potawatomi Creek, Kansas, where the group killed five people they believed to be "professional slave hunters".

In response, a group of Missourians destroyed the Brown family home, ransacked the anti-slavery town of Lawrence, and kidnapped Brown's two sons. Accepting the challenge, Brown captures the leader of the group, Captain Henry Pate, with 22 of his men, and is forced to sign an agreement to ensure their independence in exchange for the release of Brown's sons.

war in kansas

Following this tension back and forth, a group of 300 Missouri men attacked General John W. Reid to Kansas, so that they can destroy every Free State settlement. On August 30, 1856, Brown's son, Frederick, was shot dead while Brown and 38 of his men fought for a settlement on the outskirts of Osawatomi. Brown and his surviving men had to retreat, but Brown's shrewdness in battle brought national attention to his work.

On September 7, Browne made his way to Lawrence to prepare for an assault by about 3,000 pro-slavery Missourians, but it was nothing. Governor John W. Geary ordered everyone to stand up and dissolve, promising no retaliation against anyone. Brown and his three remaining adult sons took this opportunity to leave Kansas and make their way north.

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