History Podcasts

John Brown

John Brown

John Brown was born in Torrington, Connecticut, on May 9, 1800. He spent most of his youth in Hudson, Ohio, where he worked mainly for his father and developed skills as a farmer and tanner.He married the widow Dianthe Lusk in 1820, and had seven children by her. Within a year of her death in 1832, he married again and had 13 more children.He experienced inconsistent results in business, trying his hand at sheep raising, farming, tanning, and the wool trade. From 1849 to 1854, he lived in a black community near North Elba, New York. With tensions rising in Kansas following the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Brown sent his five sons – all thoroughly indoctrinated as abolitionists – westward while he attempted to settle his debts.Brown, driving a wagonload of guns, later joined his sons in Kansas. This event was part of widespread violence then occurring in Bleeding Kansas.Brown’s uncompromising stand against slavery won him numerous supporters in the North, where many abolitionists were frustrated by their lack of progress. With their help, Brown was able to establish a base in western Virginia where he hoped to spark a general slave rebellion in the South.His raid on the U.S. Arsenal at Harper`s Ferry on October 16, 1859, was part of that plan. He expected that slaves would join his "army of emancipation" as it continued further into slave-holding territory, but the support did not materialize.By the following night, federal troops commanded by Colonel Robert E. After conducting his own defense, he was convicted, and hanged on December 2.The execution involved two men who would play major roles in the events of the next few years. The colonel of the marines in charge of the execution was Robert E. Lee, while on of the militamen in attendance was John Wilkes Booth.The event was widely reported in Northern newspapers, where some described him as a selfless idealist. Abraham Lincoln, perhaps considering his prospects in the next year`s presidential election, chose to distance himself from Brown, but Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson announced that Brown`s martyrdom would "make the gallows glorious like the cross."John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry was a major step toward the polarization of North and South on the eve of the Civil War.


Watch the video: John Browne of Monuments performs I, The Creator on EMGtv (January 2022).