John Brown 2 Essay, Research Paper
In the 1850’s and 60’s the North and South were becoming more hostile towards each other due to changing views and small incidents of dislike toward the others views. One of those incidents was John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. John Brown’s goal was to steal enough weapons from the national armory and gather enough men so they could march into Kansas and force them to be a colony or state for runaway slaves. The Raid occurred in October of 1859. It was a complete failure in most ways. Most of the men were killed, it didn’t free any slaves, and it was over and done with in just under two days. The reason they were caught was because they let a train go through to Washington D.C. after a short hold up. The people obviously told someone and a national defense was sent to stop it.
For the first few months following the raid the Northerners were somewhat upset at what John Brown did. They agreed with him in wanting to free the slaves but not in forcing a colony to become a state for runaway slaves. The New York Tribune mentions this in its December 3, 1859 issue, just a few months after the incident. It states, “There are fit and unfit modes of combating a great evil(slavery); we thing Brown at Harper’s Ferry pursued the latter.” It is basically saying that Brown did it for a good cause but in the wrong ways. Henry David Thoreau’s book “The Last Day’s of John Brown” makes you realize what really happened, he tried to force a state to be a refugee for runaway slaves, but failed. His operation was a failure, but it did promote antislavery beliefs and make the North think more about the slavery issue.
The Topeka Tribune from Kansas breaks down the opinions of Brown’s raid into two groups. One group thinks of him as a great leader such as a George Washington. This is the majority of the North that thought this way. The other view is a view from the elites or educated people from the North. They began to apologize for the actions of Brown. They realized slavery was wrong but didn’t believe in forcing them to stop. This shows that there is a good number of Northerners who are against slavery altogether and therefore against the southerners.
The review of “The Public Life of Captain John Brown”, in the Atlantic Monthly appears to be from a southerner. Who makes it seem like the Northerner’s are confused about John Brown. The Book Written by a Northerner describes Brown as a hero and the paper disagrees. The paper also describes the Northerners as timid before but after the raid the anger is awakened in them. This must have stirred up the North, hearing that the South thinks they are afraid. It seems as if the March 4th edition of the Hartford Press is in response to the Atlantic Monthly or another such article. Hartford is clearly from the North and the article makes it very clear that they think the south is bushwhacking. The North appears to be very upset with the south. It is clear that a conflict is about to occur between the North and South. There is a lot of tension between the two sides.
Frederick Douglas’s letter riles up the North even more. He talks about honoring Brown. The most powerful and respectful way to honor him would be to stand up and fight for his beliefs. The Civil War Song adds to the enthusiasm to fight. It reminds them that the south killed Brown and they should honor Brown. These were both written in 1860. This shows a major change in the thoughts of the sides in just over a year. The image of Brown is just support to the fact he was against slavery, and the north should follow Brown to end slavery.
In conclusion, it is clear from just a few documents from the time period between 1859-1863 that the North and South’s views changed drastically. John Brown was thought of as a rebel in 1859 but by 1863 he was classed with leaders such as Washington. The documents show the south’s view of the incident changed as well. Their views didn’t change as much, in 1859 they thought of Brown as a lone incident not leading to anything, but as the months went on they learner more would follow. They found out that Brown just provoked more incidents of hate between the North and South. In conclusion it is clear to see that John Brown became a hero in the North and was a main reason for the start of the civil war.