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Life and Influence of John Brown

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Who was John Brown, some of you may be asking. Well in this paper will tell you how he was such an influential figure in history.

John Brown experienced many failed business enterprises and bankruptcy, but he is best remembered for his dedication to abolish slavery in the US.

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Brown’s early life will later influence his abolitionism. His family had extreme anti-slavery views. When Brown was twelve years old, he was traveling through Michigan. He had saw a African-American boy his own age being beat, which had haunted him and will later have influenced his actions, his anti-slavery beliefs had influenced other familys in many beneficial forms.

Brown and his wife had taught their children about being fair and not discriminating in the 1830’s and 1840’s. Browns father had also taught him that slavery was very wrong and unlawful to him and his family. This obviously had an influence on the familys anti-slavery views.

When John was about ten years old, he started becoming interested in history. The United States had grown into a war between different groups on who would control what. By the year 1811, Natives had feared losing their land. In 1812, war had begun. John had a diary which he had written in. He had thought that war is such a waste of energy and time. During this time period, men could be forced to fight with the troops. Since John’s view on war was negative he tried to get himself out of it. He had paid a fine to avoid that duty. He had also refused to purchase a gun for years.

Brown had made many smart decisions as a teenager. Including when he was around 15 years of age, he had vowed to fight slavery. This was when he had experienced the terrifying and frightening sight of a young boy being beaten. He had been given a task to deliver cattle to some soldiers in a town near where he had lived. John had spotted a young male slave, who served his master and their guests, being beat with a small fireplace shovel. Later on John had written about this and had specifically wrote in his diary “swear eternal war with slavery.” John had remained true to that phrase.

Once, John was at home with his brother. They had heard a knock at the door. Once they have opened it, there stood a runaway slave. They had let the slave into their home for shelter. John Brown’s brother had then went to town to gather up extra supplies. The runaway slave and John heard the clicking a horse near their home. This had of course triggered their instincts. John had rushed to help the slave out the window into a bush to hide. Thankfully the horse was not somebody coming to find the runaway, it was just a nearby neighbors horse who just happened to ride by. John had went to search for the boy. Brown had later wrote down ” I heard his heart thumping before I reached him.” According to John’s writings, the boy had moved on looking for freedom.

John had moved to a town called Randolph in Pennsylvania. His good reputation had went to a spike in 1828. He had became the first postmaster in the region. In the winter, slaves had come by his home, and John did not turn them down. He gave them shelter and gave them many necessary supplies.

In 1828 the antislavery movement had gotten much stronger. A young man named William Lloyd Garrison was against slavery and talked about it negativily and against it at a meeting in Boston. He was leaving New England to become editor of an antislavery newspaper in Baltimore, Maryland. Over the years, John Brown had been reading Garrison’s paper, the Liberator, and it taught John much about the antislavery movement and influenced a lot of his future actions as well.

John had met up with a former slave Fredrick Douglas to discuss a plan to liberate the slaves. They came to the conclusion that they cannot help the slaves without breaking the law, or without violence.

During the 1830’s, specifically in 1834, John had written a letter to his brother, Frederick, making his abolitionist beliefs very clear. One part of his plan was to adopt an past-slave child that him and his wife wanted to raise and take the child in as their own and give him or her a good and deserving education. The second part of his plan was to make a school for the blacks. He had said that the school could act on slavery like firing powder confined in rock.

1859 had come, and John had made the decision to start his Southern invasion at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

John Brown had led a small group to raid Harpers Ferry, which is now West Virginia in 1859. He wanted to investigate and help the slaves part of the major slave rebellion in the south. He and a handful of men stole weapons from the armory at Harpers Ferry, and gave out the weapons to most of the slaves in the area so they could fight against their slave owners/masters. John Brown had captured and he had attacked the United States arsenal located at Harpers Ferry.. The hope was that slaves in neighboring communities would get word of the uprisings, and fight with everybody, so that soon the entire slave population would revolt and be freed and have the freedom they have wished for.

One specific scene was brought out and highlighted by many. Brown was “holed up” in the engine house, while this was happening, his two sons, Oliver and Watson were dying in testament to their fathers sacrifice on behalf of the anti-slavery belief. Browns wife, Mary, four daughters, Ruth, Annie, Sarah, and Ellen, and his two daughters-in-law, Bell and Martha, had been waiting on a message to find out how John Brown’s raid went. They have worked hard to receive this information. They all had passed away October 16, 1859, in their home located in New York.

Early October 18, troops knocked down the armory door. John lay bleeding from sword cuts, and the remaining volunteers were dead or captured. When they were asked why he had done what he had done, John had said, We came to free the slaves, and only that.

On October 26, John and his men were charged with murder and plotting a slave rebellion, and he was found guilty. The court demanded that he shall hang Friday December 2, 1859.

John Brown did not abolish slavery as he had wished he would have . But he did play a large and critical role in the act of abolishing slavery. Many view John as a complete monster, but others view him as a hero and a very positive person for what he had done for others.


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