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Alexis and Erin

John Brown Project


Background Essay
12/7/15
John Brown Background Essay
According to The Readers Companion to American History, John
Brown was a radical man who used very violent actions to try and stop
slavery. This made many people contradict whether he was a good or a
bad person. He was born on May 9, 1800, and was born and raised
until he was five years old in Torrington, Connecticut. He was an
aggressive white man who strongly believed that slavery was wrong.
This was triggered at age twelve, when he saw a black slave chained
and being beaten. This was one experience that shaped him into an
abolitionist.
The attack in Pottawattamie occurred on May 24, 1856. He
brought seven other men along with him to aid in the ambush. He and
his followers dragged people whom he saw as the enemy out of their
homes into the streets and slaughtered them. (Pottawattamie Creek
Massacre, 1856). This was one of his acts that was supposed to help
abolish slavery, but it had a very negative effect. Many people were
killed, many others were badly wounded.
On October 16, 1859, Brown took twenty-one men and they went
with him to steal from the armory in a harbor in Virginia called Harpers
Ferry. (Harpers Ferry Attack, 1859). His plan from here, would be to
give the weapons to the slaves, resulting in an overthrow. A few
months prior to this, he and Fredrick Douglass met and discussed John
Browns point of view, which is the question, is the use of violence a
legitimate way to end slavery in the United States? Flashing forward,
during the attack, Brown and his group held many of the people
hostages. (Harpers Ferry Overview, 1859). Despite Browns wellthought-out plan, he was still stopped. When Robert E. Lee was called
to Harpers Ferry, Brown took refuge. He was caught and put on trial,
found guilty, and killed.
Before John Brown was executed, he was told that he could give
a speech, as his last words. In this speech, he basically says that he
was misinterpreted and that he was innocent. He thinks this his
punishment is unjust and unfair. He wants his blood to be with all of
the slaves and that he hopes to leave a legacy. John Brown is a good

example of a man whose intentions were good, but all of his efforts
were very bad. John Brown left a footprint in the heart of history that
tells us that he is a violent man that always went too far when he tried
to accomplish something.

Reflection:
I chose this writing piece to show that I cannot only do creative
writing, or writing from a prompt, but I can take historical pieces and
collect facts to present in a detailed way. This shows that I can also
write an narrative on the life of someone or an event. This also shows
that I can paraphrase writing, as well as quote the writing. I can write
concisely and briefly, while still getting my point across. I do not like
this essay because of its size. I wish that it could have been longer, but
it didnt need too much detail.