John Browns Raid On The Federal Armory

John Brown's raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, In October 1859,

involved only a handful of abolitionists, freed no slaves, and was over in two days.

Although many Northerners condemned the raid, by 1863 John Brown had become a hero

and a martyr in the North. The views about John Brown expressed in the documents

illustrate the strained relationship between the North and South before the civil war(1859-

1860) and the severely crippled relationship after the civil war.

In 1859 before the Civil war the Northern-Southern relationship was strained with

such laws as the Kansas-Nebraska act, 'legalizing' slavery through popular soveirgnty in

the territor-

ies, and the Dredd Scott decision practically legalizing slavery in any territory(without

popular soveriegnty). Soon after John Brown's famous raid, Northerners condemned

him(Doc. A) for combating a 'great evil'(Slavery) in an 'unfit way'(through fighting), They

said this because it was unconstitutional to fight without going through the government

and there are other ways to get rid of slavery. This basically was a last ditch effort to save

the south from succeeding from the union and to hold the thread that was holding the

relations of the North and South together.

By 1860, the dreaded election of 1860 was here and the Civil war would soon

start due to the 'Railsplitter' Lincoln winning the election. Views of John Brown in the

North were gaining more momentum as he became more popular(Doc. D). More

Northerners began to feel it that John Brown had done it the right way. The Democrats at

this time were using tactics to use John Brown against the Republicans that were for it,

this failed and showed that most northerners were with John Brown all the way(Doc. E).

He began to be more like a martyr in the north toward the end of 1860(Doc. F). When

Lincoln was elected the South immediately succeeded and the Civil war began shortly

after. During the Civil War John Brown rose to Hero and Martyr status and a famous

song of the civil war was pledged to him(Doc. G).

In Conclusion, the views of John Brown between 1859-1863 clearly showed how

the North-South relationship was hanging on a thread and was cut as John Brown became

more famous between these periods and into the Civil War.

Word Count: 381

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