John Brown Revolt




John Brown's goal was to start a slave revolt by seizing one small corner of the South and letting the rebellion spread. He was supported by some money from Northern abolitionists, which he used to obtain weapons. He began the revolt on the evening of October 16, 1859. However US Marines quickly surronded him and captured him

His trial was swift. All appeals that he be placed in an insane asylum were rejected and he was hung.


John Brown was a white abolitionist who strongly believed that violent action was necessary to abolish slavery in the United States. He is best known for his role in planning and leading an armed insurrection at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1859. His aim was to spark a major slave revolt.

Brown was born in Connecticut in 1800 and raised in Ohio. From an early age, he felt a deep hatred for slavery. In 1856, in what came to be known as the Pottawatomie massacre during the "Bleeding Kansas" conflict, he led a group that killed five pro-slavery settlers.

However, the event that Brown is most associated with took place in 1859, when he led a group of 21 men in a raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry. His goal was to seize the armory's large stockpile of weapons and distribute them to slaves in the South, thus inciting a widespread slave rebellion. He believed that the local slave population would join his revolt, leading to a chain reaction of revolts across the South.

But things did not go as planned. The local militia, townspeople, and a detachment of U.S. Marines led by Colonel Robert E. Lee quickly surrounded Brown and his men. After a two-day standoff, Brown was captured. Of Brown's original 21-man force, ten were killed, seven were captured (including Brown), and a few managed to escape.

Brown was swiftly tried and convicted of treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia, murder, and inciting a slave insurrection. He was sentenced to death and was hanged in December 1859.Before being hung, Brown stated: "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 blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by the wicked, cruel and unjust enactments, I say let it be done."

Despite its failure, the raid made a significant impact. Many in the South saw it as evidence of the North's intention to wage a war of extermination against them, inflaming secessionist sentiments. In the North, Brown's willingness to sacrifice his life for the cause of abolition made him a martyr in the eyes of some.

Even though the large-scale slave revolt Brown envisioned did not materialize, his raid on Harpers Ferry played a key role in the rising tensions between the North and South that led to the American Civil War.