Skip to comments.Prelude to the Civil War; Four states mark the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s raid
Posted on 03/21/2009 7:02:03 AM PDT by Liz
A series of reenactments, dramatic productions, family activities and special tours are scheduled this year as Civil War sites in West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania commemorate the 150th anniversary of abolitionist John Browns October 1859 raid on the arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Although the raid itself failed, it succeeded in exacerbating the divide between North and South, pushing the nation closer to civil war.
Before the raid, negotiations and a compromise between North and South might have been possible; however, after the attackand Browns trial and hangingemotions ran so high that armed conflict became inevitable, says Tom Riford of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
At the time, Brown was denounced on both sides of the MasonDixon Line as a terrorist and an enemy of the Union, but others just as passionately revered him as a martyr. Brown inspires those same polarized opinions among todays visitors to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (nps.gov/hafe), says Todd Bolton, events committee chair for the John Brown Sesquicentennial Quad-State Committee (johnbrownraid.org). Our job at Harpers Ferry is to present the facts and the history, and let people decide for themselves, he says.
There will be plenty of opportunities this year to learn about Brown, beginning on April 18 with the first Signature Event of the sesquicentennial: Prelude to History: The Wedding of Virginia Kennedy at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The days attractions include a dramatic monologue about the raid told from the perspective of the wife of raider John Cook. Visitors can also enjoy period music, youth activities and tours of the Lower Town at Harpers Ferry, which has been preserved as it appeared during the Civil War era.
The town of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, lies at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, bordering Maryland and Virginia. The 3,500-acre National Park extends into all three states. Brown had his northern headquarters in Pennsylvania, the fourth member of the quad-state committee. On May 22, the John Brown House in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, will be rededicated and reopened after a major renovation.
The Kennedy Farmhouse in Samples Manor, Maryland, staging place for the raid, will host a rare open house with tours and demonstrations July 12. Frederick County, Maryland, attracts the spotlight August 89 for its Militia and Fire Company Days, with displays of antique fire-fighting equipment. Other events happen throughout the summer and fall, including regular ranger-guided tours of Brown-related sites in the National Park and surrounding areas.
The centerpiece of the sesquicentennial observation takes place in the Harpers Ferry area October 1618, 150 years to the day after the raid and subsequent siege. Following a twilight reenactment Friday of Browns six-mile march to Harpers Ferry, the commemoration continues on Saturday and Sunday with a full slate of music, living history, family activities and ranger-guided programs.
Because of the significance of the raid, the John Brown Sesquicentennial is regarded as a prelude to the Civil War Sesquicentennial, which the nation will observe from 2011 to 2015.
Theresa Gawlas Medoff
Learn more about the Civil War and the nations sesquicentennial plans at cwar.nps.gov/civilwar/abcivwarSesqInit.htm. The information in this story was accurate when it was published in the March/April 2009 issue of AAA World, but dates, times and prices may have changed since then. We suggest you verify such details directly with the listed establishments before making travel plans.
JOHN BROWN FORT
I hope John Brown is where he belongs. In Hell.
IMHO, the 'Tipping Point' occurred somewhat earlier... either the Kansas-Nebraska Act or the Dred Scott decision.
I’m a direct descendent of the terrorist.
John Brown did not end slavery, he sure as hell started the war that ended it.
And he belongs in Hell?
I’m so confused
He was a terrorist and a cold-blooded murderer, no better than Mohammed Atta.
That cellar was a small, low-ceilinged, dank and creepy place with no electricity or even a thought of ever putting any in. I would not have stayed in it overnight for a dollar back then... wouldn't do it today. Maybe it was more congenial in the 1850's.
Whether it is John Brown, Hitler, Jefferson Davis, Abraham Lincoln, Barak Obama, or Jeffrey Dahmer, I don't wish anyone in hell. I may repudiate their actions. I may despise what they have done. But I leave that up to their maker to judge their actions.
Mohammed Atta? RIght.
He was a Christian who believed the Bible was the final truth regarding in abolition of slavery
“This court acknowledges, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed here which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament. That teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me, further, to “remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them.” I endeavored to act up to that instruction. I say, I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons. I believe that to have interfered as I have done as I have always freely admitted I have done in behalf of His despised poor, was not wrong, but right. 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 submit; so let it be done!”
Excerpt from a speech given by John Brown in court after his conviction
So you’re equating John Brown with William Ayers through BHO because Ayers grew up in BHO’s neighborhood?
What’s the Brown connection? Oh, I got it. BHO is brown and Brown is, well Brown.
Prelude perhaps but not the tipping point which would be the Morril Tariff which was a wholesale plunder.
Yeah, he was so good of a Christian that he and his cronies hacked up five Kansans in 1856 and then at Harper's Ferry, killed a free black baggage handler named Hayward Shepherd, Mayor Fontaine Beckham, civilians Thomas Boerly and George W. Turner, two local slaves, and U.S. Marines Luke Quinn and Matthew Ruppert.
Yep, Brown's a real Christian hero who Jesus would be really proud of.
equating John Brown with William Ayers because: advancing their cause through terrorism. Many people also consider William Ayers noble and heroic.
That is always a topic of heated debate. I love my history and just visited Harper’s Ferry in September. I admit I am someone who empathizes with John Brown. What to do when faced with the brutal practice of slavery when people were at the mercy of their ‘master’? And when you realize what was going on in Kansas and the war and violence and mock ‘elections’ and no real rule of law. But that history is fascinating and the story of the Browns and their sacrifices to something they felt there was no other way to solve it. And they were right.
The men murdered in the massacre were leaders in the pro-slavery movement that incited violence and murder in Kansas and led the movement of fraud at the ballots. There was blatant injustice going on in Kansas and they sought leading figures out. I believe it is more on a militia movement for freedom like the American Revolution and when you don’t even have your gov’t to protect you and your rights and sanctioning a brutal practice that left those enslaved to be murdered, brutalized at the will of their ‘masters’, it was not so easy to just put it like that. Desperate times called for desperate measures.
There was a lot of sacrifice by that family on a cause they so rightly felt so strong on. I believe their cause was just and slavery was a real terrorist act that left the slave to the whims of their ‘masters’.
Nothing justified his terrorism.
You could make that case for any war of any kind. Does it make it right if it is state sponsored? What about the founding of this very country? I believe Brown brought about an end to an institution that went on long enough and cost many lives and suffering.
What about any person who goes to war and has to kill someone? Do not civilian deaths occur during every war?
I’m curious what you would have thought if you found yourself in the position of a slave and in those times. It was time for the brutal injustice to end.
Yes, much more honorable to act on taxes than truly enslaving another human being and murdering, raping, beating them and separating their families, etc. etc. People died over independence over taxes and you say it wasn’t right for a movement within a country to work to abolish true slavery?? Just because something is state sanctioned does not make it right and the United States was wrong to allow slavery to continue for so long.
The smoke from the battlefield never clears.
Any suggestions on how we should commemorate?
Would you really argue that the United States was not acting as a thug with slavery? Dred Scott, the Kansas-Nebraska Act and an institution that was continuing on with much pain and suffering and a black mark on this nation as a beacon of freedom?
Bad people sometimes do things that lead to good results and vice versa.
A political solution may have been possible had John Brown not inflamed passions. Eventually slavery was going to end and the South’s economy would have to adapt. However, many in the South felt that they were under unjustified attack and decided to fight back. IMO, right principle, wrong application/set of circumstances.
You do realize the American Revolution was a movement by a minority against their own country, don’t you? And over taxes which they considered ‘slavery’! I am not saying you supported slavery, but I will say with someone like you slavery and the suffering would have continued on for many more yrs. to come. And as for ‘evil actions’, like I say, the only way there ever is FREEDOM is because of BLOODSHED. It is a necessary evil and I believe Brown brought the issue to a much sooner conclusion with his actions.
Pointless that John Brown was not a ‘legal representative of the people of the United States’. It was legal for a slaveowner to rape, murder and brutalize their ‘property’ of enslaved men, women, and children and someone needed to step forward for freedom and a right of wrongs. Are you really going to argue that the United States was at a fine place in law at that point? It was gross injustice of our Declaration of Independence and ‘all Men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. It was a gross injustice against freedom.
Also known as ‘Psycho Loony Day’.
Nice try. The Morrell Tariff wasn't passed until after the seven original confederate states had seceded. The tipping point was the election of Lincoln and what the South saw as the threat to their ability to expand slavery.
Talk about apples and oranges and you bring up Timothy McVeigh! John Brown is getting his final judgment just as anyone who is involved in killing and warfare. I believe he was just in his war and you and I obviously disagree. Too much indifference to the injustice for far too long.
Can you come out and play? : )
Hmmmm, John Brown?
I’m no fan.
John Brown was at best an addled lunatic that believe that if guns were in the hands of slaves that they would rise up in mass and commit in this country the sort of violence and bloodshed that had happened in Haiti.
Personally I am glad that the Marines and some unknown passed over regular army Colonel named Robert E. Lee to a stop to his madness, before it got a lot of American families killed.
Brown was a klutz with no experience or planning who thought a spontaneous eruption of hate, murder and mathem would engulf this country if he could only get enough guns into the hands of slaves, and he did not care what happened to either the slaves or their masters or even ordinary families without slaves once the revolt was underway.
He deserved to fail and what he got but more importantly he deserves in part to be blamed for the south’s unwillingness to debate the issue of slavery in a constitutional amendment, it was his radicalism that gave them all the fuel they needed to secede.
WOW! Who are you and why ain’t I capable of saying what you say in the same way that you do and may I borrow some of your brillance? WOW!
Maybe these Civil War threads should be moved to the smoky Backroom.< /sarcasm>
I have accused no slave of terrorism and after all that's the subject I referred to, not slavery. I said that John Brown was a terrorist. His acts testify to that fact.
If terrorism is ok in some instances for a "just cause", then the jihadists are ok. I can assure you that they believe with all their hearts that their cause is just and so are their tactics. They have an ok from their god and so John Brown thought also.
I don't believe for one minute that God told John Brown to murder and butcher adult males in the presence of their families but he certainly thought so.
Don't interpret my condemnation of terrorism as defence of slavery, it isn't.
I find it quite odd that Brown was able to contain his anti-slavery passion and refrain from attacks on Union states that still allowed slavery. Some are more equal than others.
I guess that shows how full of S he was.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.