John Brown Essay

Submitted By claubhan
Words: 2428
Pages: 10

John Brown: Abolition to the Extreme “Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children, and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I say let it be done.” (Court Document) John Brown has been called a saint, a fanatic, and a cold-blooded murderer. It is said that John Brown was the spark that started the Civil War. In fact, he was a major contribution to the end of the issue of slavery. It was not long after his death that John Browns’ war, became the nation’s war. John Brown was convinced that black slavery was a sin against Christianity taking it to the extreme measure of murder, but was this extreme the correct way to deal with controversial issue of slavery? John Brown was born in Torrington, Connecticut on May 9, 1800. His father was a wandering New Englander and a firm believer in abolition. In his younger years, John Brown spent most of his time in Ohio where he was taught by local schools and by his parents to respect the Bible and detest slavery. His early occupations included herding cattle for General William Hull’s army in the War of 1812 and as a foreman in his family’s tannery. Early out of his teen years, he married Dianthe Lusk at age 20 who bore him 7 children. She tragically died in 1831, but Brown was quick to marry a mere year later to 16-year-old Mary Anne Day who bore him 13 more children (Faust 1). While still married to Mary Anne Day, Brown attempted to become somewhat of a businessman. Over the next 24 years Brown built and sold several tanneries, involved himself in land sales, raised sheep, and established a brokerage for woolgrowers. Every project failed because he was more of a visionary, than a businessman. As he became financially burdened, just as many people of his time, he began to understand how rough a life the poor and oppressed lived. As he became more enlightened on how the poor and oppressed lived, he began seeing comparisons to slavery. He frequently enjoyed the company of blacks as he lived 2 years in a freedmen’s community in New York. Over time he became an active abolitionist becoming the conductor of the Underground Railroad and the organizer of a self-protection league for free blacks and fugitive slaves. As he started becoming more involved in his abolition career by age 50, he began having visions of slave uprisings, in which racists paid horribly for their sins against the black community. He even began to regard himself as commissioned by God to help make these visions a reality by taking action in August of 1855. He and his 5 sons venturing ahead of him, traveled to Kansas to help make the state a safe haven for anti-slavery settlers (Faust 1). As this was going well, pro slavery forces retaliated by burning and looting the free-state community of Lawrence. Soon after this the pro-slavery men decided that every free-state settler must be driven out of the territory. The settlement of Osawatomie was chosen as one of the main places to carry out this plan sparking the Battle of Osawatomie.
Around mid August 1856, the Missouri-Kansas militia began aggressive attacks and killings around the area of Osawatomie. About 150 Missourians camped not far from the town expecting to capture it by surprise. While they were very quick, the Free-State men were quicker, and the camp was captured after total defeat of the Missourians. It was not anticipated that another attack would soon be made, but on the night of August 29th a band of about 400 Missourians started from Bull Creek for Osawatomie. Commanded by General John William Reid, they intended to reach the town about midnight and make and strike in the daylight.
On the morning of August 30th Frederick Brown, son of abolitionist John Brown, left Osawatomie before sunrise to return to Lawrence. While on his way he ran into Reid and a