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Gilbert M. Stack

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Today in History: John Brown Was Executed

Posted by Gilbert Stack on December 2, 2018 at 7:25 AM

On this day (December 2) in 1859, John Brown was hanged after he seized the Federal Armory at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia and attempted to start a slave insurrection. Brown is a controversial figure today, just as he was during his lifetime. He and his sons passionately believed in the abolition of slavery and killed people to advance this cause. They fought proslavery forces in Kansas before developing the idea of starting a widespread slave rebellion in the south. They seized the Federal Armory in Harper’s Ferry to provide weapons for the expected uprising of slaves, but the hoped for rebellion never occurred. Brown and his followers (21 men in all) were pinned down and eventually Brown was captured, tried and hung.


The raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859 dramatically upped the tensions before the Civil War. For many southerners, Brown was evil incarnate trying to bring their worst nightmare (a slave rebellion) true. They could not understand why so many northerners were sympathetic toward Brown and his views. For many northerners, the fate of John Brown was further evidence of the corruption of the south in its dedication to slavery.


Categories: Today in History

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