John Brown

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In 1859, John Brown collected a small body of men, white and black, in the mountains of Maryland. He made a sudden attack upon Harper’s Ferry, where there was a United States arsenal, which he seized and held for a few hours. The attack was a direct assault upon slavery. Brown had resolved to carry the war into what he regarded as the enemy’s country, and he expected to see the slaves flock to his standard. There were few at the North who knew of his purpose; and the country, North and South, was amazed at the act. John Brown was wounded and taken prisoner; some of his associates were killed, and some were taken with him. He was tried by the State of Virginia, sentenced, and hanged. His action was generally condemned by the people, but many declared him a martyr to freedom, and accused slavery of provoking him to the deed. His act, moreover, deepened the feeling of the South that the North was in a hostile attitiude; and public opinion at the South held the North responsible for Brown’s movement."—Scudder, 1897


Horace E. Scudder, A History of the United States of America (New York: Sheldon and Company, 1897) 343


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