John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, set out to create an armed revolution of emancipated slaves. Instead, it became a tipping point leading to the U.S. Civil War.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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ass, a dry interfere in the understanding, cool and unusual and seemingly ordinary, even boring things that are made interesting. You should check it up. Please and thank you were on Itunes Fatah, Google play music anywhere you get hot cats, welcome to stuff, you missed an industry from Housetop works, Knocker low and welcome to the part time tranquilly Wilson and I'm howling frying, John Browns Raid on Harper S ferry, has come to different times in recent episodes of our part gasped. The first time was an hour to partner on Harriet Tubman, and then it came up. game and our episode I'd marry and shall carry and came up to different,
I'm on a completely different podcast, which is politically reactive with W Kemal Bell and hurry kind of. Only on drivers to four episodes, plus we ve had a ton of listener request to talk about this one as well. So it seems like it's time for the world to have an episode on John Brown, rated Bruce Fair you go for background. John Brown was born and cook touring TIM Connecticut on main ninth of eighteen hundred. His family were strict cows tests and Johns Father Owen, was a white abolitionist who believe fervently that holding people in bondage was a sin against God. In you know. Five Owen moved the family to Hudson Ohio where he became deeply involved in the towns efforts in the underground rail road including sheltering sleeping slaves in the families barn. There are still open Houses and Hudson that are still existing, that we're time too, road and when you read the descriptions of have them, his name comes up
and over and over again in eighteen, see one John Brown married Diana less with whom he would have seven children before both sea and their seventh child died in eighteen. Thirty two, then, in eighteen, thirty, three, Brown remarried Mary Day who at that point was sixteen, and the two of them would have another thirteen children. There are also, several sources that fear they adopted previously ex enslaved child and then raised that child as their own as well Brown approached. And heard in a way that was both strict and austere, including some corporal punishment that could be described as cruel in eighteen seven at the memorial service for anti slavery. Newspaper publisher, Elijah Lovejoy, who had been murdered by a pro slavery. Mob brown made up. Like vow, he stood before the congregation and said quote here before God, The presence of these witnesses icons
My life to the destruction of slavery, devotion to ending slavery in his Calvinist. Upbringing would eventually come by into a complete and utter certainty that he was predestined to bring about slavery. End while before he really put that belief into concrete action, though he and his family moved around a lot and daring Brown would live, among other places in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kansas Massachusetts and New York, He also move from job to job, doing everything, from farming, to land speculation, to trading wool, to try to earn his money and, for the most part, the Efforts to make money were not particularly successful in eighteen. Forty He even wound up in federal court as he went through a bankruptcy partially brought on by the panic of eighteen, thirty seven, but as has, in the case with some of our other podcast subjects, including Bronson, Alcott and Harriet Tubman, you didn't let a lack of money,
Stop him from trying to put what he did have towards causes that mattered to him. These efforts, in many cases, were ambitious. For example, Brown wanted to expand the underground rail road and see what he called the subterranean pathway than this, would be an enormous effort that would take advantage of the remote and difficult terrain of the Appalachian mountains to extend to the underground railroads activities beyond the border states and into the deep south. Under this plan, a small group of for additives would read, plantations liberate the people in sleep, a year and then guide them into the mountains where they could be secretive north. He hoped to free hundreds of thousands of slaves in this way, but the subterranean pathway just about freedom. As part of this plan. Some of these liberated people would become part of an armed fighting force of freedom. People who would forcibly and slavery in the south by rating plantations
and robbing slaveowners of their power in their workforce. Although a lot of people remember, the abolitionist movement in the United States is being relatively nonviolent. Brown spoken armed resistance, was not unique, so running peril, also the abolitionist suited things like right, right, essays and deliver speeches and work for legal reforms and help enslaved people liberate themselves. They were though radical abolitionists, who thought that violence would be required to bring slavery to an end. For example, John Brown was one of the people who had helped Fun David walkers appeal, which was published in eighteen, twenty nine. Why here was a free black man from the south and his work appeal. Radical anti slavery document that called for enslaved people to rise up against their owners. He wrote quote:
they want is for their slaves and think nothing of murdering us. Therefore, if there is an attempt made by us, kill or be killed and believe that That is no more harm for you to kill a man who is trying to kill you than it is for you to treat take a drink of water. When Thirsty Brown was also connected to Henry Highland Garnett, who had been enslaved from before escaping with his family. At age, nine gonna gave a speech national Negro convention and eighteen forty three that became known as the call to rebellion. In this speech, he said, quote cannot be more oppressed than you have been. You cannot suffer greater cruelties than you have already. Rather die. Freeman, then live to be slaves for Browns part is below violence was required to bring an end to slavery, was tied directly to United States history, rather than putting pressure on southern states to put a rapid end,
slavery, the northern states in the federal government had a three of compromises and appeasing slave states in the interest of keeping the south in the union. One of these a fugitive slave act of eighteen, fifty afterward Brown helped found the League of Juliet Rights, which was a radical organization dedicated to protecting escaped slaves from slave catchers again through violent means, if necessary, another act that was meant to appease slave states led John Brown to shift from violent rhetoric to actual violence, and this is where some of things worked, talking about or gonna get a little bit gruesome. So, just so, you know we get em so that, after a brief sponsor rate as a child, the fur words out of your mouth were you're, not the boss of me. Boss. Moves are the only You make an you, never have to worry about the boss approving a vacation since wait what education, euro, small
No sooner born to be your own boss and annex can help with financing transfer eligible business customers. So you can keep doing what you were made to do. The powerful backing. american? Express don't do business without it terms, apply, learn more american, Express Dotcom, slash business in eighteen, fifty four Congress past the Kansas Nebraska ACT so for a little bit of cod text? If you don't remember, under the Missouri compromise of eighteen, twenty Congress had maintained a balance between slave states and free states by admitting main as a free state and Missouri as a slave state and then also by drawing a line parallel, thirty six degrees. Thirty minutes, north that was basically a border for slavery, slavery, outlawed when new states north of that line entered the union. However, the Cannes
brusque ACT, ended that previous compromise and instead allowed new states to decide whether to allow slavery when they joined the union by popular vote Nebraska is north of Kansas and most people considered that territory prick EL, decided on being a free state when it entered the union gives us however, was not nearly so certain. As a result, people both in favour of and against slavery flooded to Kansas, to try to sway the vote one way or another Kansas came a literal battleground and the result was a period of violent conflict that came to be known as bleeding Kansas, John Brown was one of the people. Specifically one of anti slavery, people who went to Kansas to fight he actually followed in the wake of five of his. And you had already moved there and he arrived with a wagon full of swords and rifles in eighteen, fifty, five and dissent,
of that year. He let a fighting forest. Is he and his neighbors went to defend the town of warrants, which was a an anti slavery, town for a pro every invasion the following May Browns Father died and it about this. Time abolitionist. Senator Charles Sumner had been trained on the Senate floor, there's an epoch, about that incident. In the archives Brown was simultaneously grief stricken over his father and outraged over Charles Sumner and it about same time. Pro slavery forces returned to Lawrence and sacked it and when he was urged to act with caution and restraint, Brown said quote: caution. Caution, sir. I am eating tired of hearing the word caution is nothing but the word of cowardice on May twenty. Fourth of eighteen, fifty six Brown, let a small party in dragging five pro slavery, men out of their cabins and hacking them to death and retribution for the sacking of Lawrence.
This would come to be known as the Pottawatomie massacre on grounds involvement in these murders have multiple consequences. Two of his sons who had not participated but were destroyed with their father, had done had psychological breakdowns another son, Frederick who had participated, was killed in the aftermath and a lot of them of the abolitionist community was actually horrified by what he had done. But Brown was steadfast in that action he had again and the murders were a tipping point in Kansas. As pro slavery forces sought, retribution in federal troops went from community to community on a relentless search for Brown and his party Brown, on the other hand, evaded capture which, in his mind, solidified his idea that he could. Similarly of aid capture in the Ep action mountains as part of his subterranean pathway strategy. He just needed friends and a few men, and he left Kansas to fight
them in January of eighteen. Fifty eight at a meeting with some of the most prominent black abolitionist leaders, including Frederick Douglass, inherits, have been with Douglas. He drafted a constitution for a provision government of the community of liberated slaves that he was hoping to build, of which he hoped that Frederick Douglass would be president. He then two Chatham Ontario, which is home Marianne sad carry, which is how that came up previously to plan The raid that with launch this movement, his target for the raid was Harper S, Ferry Virginia Virginia was a slave state and Harper S. Ferry was in a strategic position where the shoe in Doha and Potomac Rivers, meat It was also home to a federal arsenal that he plans to use to arm his fighters, many of whom would be liberated slaves as well. An iron works, a munitions factory and other
streets. That would be useful for a growing rebellion, the surrounding counties where home to about eighteen thousand enslaved people as I was sympathetic, white residents of the nearby Appalachian mountains, all of whom he hoped to bring into his cause a lot of people. He was supposed tat he was hoping to draw from in terms of white support where from what is now West Virginia, which was much or anti slavery than the other rest of Virginia, and that is why Virginia to state its proceeded from Virginia during all of this having play and this raid out, while he was in Chatham, he started connecting of other abolitionists in New York in Massachusetts. To try to get the money to carry out this plan. He ultimately financial backing for a group of wealthy abolitionists who came to be known as the secret six. These were George L, steams Garret Smith, Thomas Wentworth Higgins, in Theodore Parker
inclines, Sanborn and Samuel Gridley. How but then, Scott derailed a little. mercenary, Hugh Forbes threatened to expose the plan which caused brown to return to Kansas, to try to avoid suspicion. He stayed for six months and when he laughed sort of his approach concept. He liberated Missouri slave named Jim Daniels and his family, along with a handful of peace, enslaved on nearby plantations and he sheltered them in Kansas for a month before alluding cap, and slave catchers to guide them to Canada. With this expressed under his belt Brown got back to the task of rating Harper S ferry he rented a house across the border in Maryland as a base of operations, he bought rifles and pikes and basically started out the slave army that he believed would come to join him at Harper S ferry as soon as they learn. What he was doing he also enlisted Harriet Tubman to travel through the areas plantations and spread the word.
With the help of the enslaved people in the surrounding counties, actual rate, began on October, sixteenth of eighteen, fifty nine and Brown was fifty nine years old at the time where's was smaller than originally planned. It was twenty two people total three of them left behind them. did house in Maryland to receive liberated slaves, so brown and Nineteen man made their way into Harpers very by night, cut the telegraph lines and took control railroad station and the Muscat factory and rifle works which were essentially unguarded. Then they abducted summit. areas most notorious slaveowners and they took them to the engine house of the train station as hostages. There was only one the italian that original take over, and that was a free black porter who had been working at the train station with a telegraph lines cut.
the biggest source of news out of Harper S, ferry overnight was a train that came through at the station after brown ticket over which they actually allowed to pass, even though it meant risking that the people aboard would take word to the authorities of what was happening, which they did soon. Rumour started to spread that John Brown had taken Harper S, ferry first with fifty people and then with a hundred and then with two hundred and my morning it was clear to people living there. That Brown had indeed taken over several strategic points and the town started muster resistance at first. This result and was mostly in the form of militia and local farmers and slaveowners, but at the same time the vast wave of support Brown had expected. Just did not me realise there were several reasons for this one, that so much time had passed between the meeting in Chatham Ontario and the raid. That a lot of like population that had been interested in helping had lost
east or they had just lost touch with Brown and his allies. Another was that Harriet Tubman couldn't be found would be decided to go ahead with the raid. The historical record is not totally clear on why they could locate her, but she may have been ill yeah. She had already done some preliminary searching flash work through the plantations of area to spread the word of what was coming, but they had expected her to be on hand to rally support further when the rate actually happened, and they just couldn't find her even though there is evidence that a few enslaved people from nearby did join the rate was definitely not the groundswell of massive support that Brown had been expecting so soon he raiders were surrounded and pinned an at both the in station and the Muscat factory and rifle works to attempts to send somebody to call a ceasefire under a right of white flag, both failed, the second person sent, was actually browns
Watson who was shot and killed some of brown men. Trade. flee their positions via the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, leading to there being shot some of them still in the water, and me Brown and the man he was hold up within the engine house of the train station drilled hole the door that they could shoot through, hoping to hit their attackers, and they were mostly unsuccessful, although one shot did hit Harper S, ferry mere Fontaine, Becum with beckons death, any support that Browns It might have had among Harpers theories residents, just evaporated mobs The hotel, where William Thomson, which was the first man, had been sent out for a cease fire was being held. They shot him in the head and threw him into the Potomac eventually President dreams, Buchanan dispatched Marines under the command of Robert E Lee to restore order. At that point, Harper S ferry streets were bombed with both trained fighters,
angry ramble trying to get it brown men in the engine house all but for of whom were by that point, injured or dead after arriving around midnight LISA you be Stuart. He would go on to become leaves own cavalry commander on the southern side in the civil war to the ended house under a white flag to negotiate Stuart promised Brown Section from the mob and a fair trial, if he would let the hostages go, Brown refused, he wanted himself and his I've a man to be allowed to go back to Maryland, with the hostages, as basically is the strategic point, and then they would free ass. The days once they were safely back in Maryland,. with negotiations at an impasse, LISA men to batter down the door. The morning of the eighteenth Marie swarmed, the engine house, killings of browns, few remaining men and taking others prisoner Brown was,
with a sword and only survived, because the sword happened to hit a buckle that he was wearing in the and of the original crew of nineteen men ten had been killed. mortally wounded, two of them being brown, sons and five had been taken prisoner. There were also six civilian deaths. The mayor to townspeople to enslaved will that belong to the hostages in the porter that had been killed at the train station. Here's, how the official report described. It quote a fanatical man stimulated to recklessness and desperation by the constant teachings and intemperate. appeals of wild and treasonable enthusiasts, unrestrained by
constitution and the laws of the land by the precepts of religion, by appeals of humanity or of mercy formed a conspiracy to make a sudden descent upon the people of Harper S ferry to rob the arsenal, wonder public property and stir up servile insurrection. With that brief recap from the official report, we will take brief word from above their before we talk about the raids after now, This episode is brought to you by barbers. Everybody loves to feel like they are the super awesome person at the end of the hall when they give giving that everyone's. Like man, you nailed it if you're, giving everybody Barbara socks, this holiday, you're, probably Get that a word one of the things keep for that. I am in love with, is their new sesame Street line, and I know I have several friends it would want those. I also have really been doing wearing their no show socks, because I, where those a lot with low tops and loafers
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I'll began on October twenty six. Just ten days after the raid, all of the men were found guilty and the penalty for all of the charges was death John Brown was hanged on December. Second of eighteen, fifty nine before his hanging, handed a guard and note that red quote. I John Brown and now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away, but with blood among those present were Robert E Lee Stonewall, Jackson and John Wilkes Booth as by whether it launched an armed slave resistance that freed thousands of slaves and forcibly rested. Control of the south from slaveowners ass had been the original plan, John rate on Harbours area, with a complete failure measure by whether it launched an armed slave resistance that free thousands of slaves and forcibly rested. Control of the south from slaveowners ass had been the original plan, John
rate on Harper S, ferry was a complete failure, but measured by its ultimate effect on the progression of slavery in the United States is a completely different story. The same that there's murders of five pro slavery, settlers and Kansas that we talked about earlier had sparked a tide of violence there. The raid at her where's fairy inflamed passions, tensions and violence around slavery and the relationships between slave and free states, in many circles in the north, John Brown became a martyr, especially He was eloquent and steadfast in his denunciations of slavery, while on trial and people Hold down on their efforts to abolish the institution, but in the south, people were terrified idea of a slave insurrection was already a source of fear in a lot of the south and in some places wisely
winners and the rest of the white population were vastly outnumbered by enslaved people. So the idea that these people might unite and violence. overthrow, their owners was petrifying. The south tried to down Browns raid as unimportant in an effort to dismiss it, while Simon currently being completely horrified at what it could spell for the future. On a more practical level. Many parts of the south renewed their call for militia membership and military drills of those militia so that when the civil war did begin, those militias that been created under the idea of fighting a potential. John Brown inspired rebellion if it was necessary where our there and trained and ready to go to war. It was also one of many events that happened in the late eighteenth. If these that stoked political passions over the issue of slavery, the Democrats, split over the issue of slavery in the eighteen. Sixty election with pro
an anti slavery factions each putting forth candidates for presidency, and neither during a necessary two thirds majority at the party convention. After it Recent efforts to unite the party, the Democratic Party nominated Senator Stephen aid Douglas, while the southern Democrats nominated John C Breckinridge, and both Douglas M Breckinridge presented themselves, as the official party can Let's, meanwhile, an entire other party, the Constitutional Union Party, nominated former Senator John Bell of Tennessee to be their candidate for president and in the end it was Abraham Lincoln the republican nominee who won this far away election with only a hundred and eighty electoral votes and just shy of forty percent of the popular vote as a consequence of Lincoln's election. Eleven southern states society succeeded from the union which directly led to the civil war. Fifty years
after the raid, Frederick Douglass, would say that John Brown Quote began the war that ended american slavery M made this a free republic. There are a lot of historians. You basically think without this lightning point of Harpers There would not have been that four way split. Relax in that ultimately lead Lincoln to be elected, not with a whole majority of the popular vote and for it decades, even a century after the raid historical accounts painted brown as mentally unstable with descriptions, full of words like delusional and mad man, but really Brown was thought a goal and well researched in this whole idea. He had said the other uprisings, including Turner's rebellion and the haitian revolution. and he had also studied guerrilla resistance to military forces in both Europe and the United States, including in the colonial era. Today, some historical depictions of We have shifted a little bit to be
more including of language lakes firstly devoted rather them unhinged an insane even when he was alive at first as new of the raid was spreading. Even in the north, where it sort of reinvigorated abolition as a cause. At first there were people who were like that ban is not, in his right, mind, mind and sentiment, Fifty eight about him ass. He continually made these like steadfast and very eloquent denunciation. Of slavery during his trial. So the idea that everybody thought that he was. Like mentally unwell. Even at the time was not totally accurate, Harriet Tubman, in particular described him as being the only way
person that she ever met, you actually thought that slavery was a life or death issue that really needed to be treated that way, an evil like even in the more recent past. You see divisions and how people talk about John Brown and like whether his ideas were good and whether he was was making sense in a methodical way or whether he was sort of flying off in this delusional fervour like the Malcolm X, talked about if you, if you meet a white person who says that they are in favour of black power, find out what they think about John Brown,
that's one of the things that sort of lead to that end, the politically reactive podcast that we talked about early earlier in the top the show what they are talking about. John Brown white people, an idea of people who were that fervently devoted and that ready to put their own lives on the line, no matter what at and slavery so he's a cop k, person ya, I feel like we feel that we barely scratched the surface of his complicated and what people thought about him then, and now some less complicated listener. Real would be stupendous if he got it left about margarine. Nick
wrote and said great stuff, you missed, and history pod on butter and margarine, I was struck by your discussion of margarine sold with coloring consumers with at home. One explanation not mentioned in the pod: consumers wanted to appear to be able to afford butter, so colouring at home was attractive as a similar to stories of people refilling Coca COLA, bottles with Patsy when serving guests, because Coke was the more expensive higher class product. I would be interested in a pot about the history of people disguising cheap products as expensive project products, not for profit like the butter fraud, but first social comparison purposes to impress the neighbors. Perhaps the epitome of this was fifty cents claim in his bankruptcy proceedings that the piles of hundred dollar bills in his social media posts were rented money to appear to be living a certain lifestyle for your work make. Thank you Nick. We got a handful of notes along these lines about how, like
family members who would re, fill the butter container with colored margarine and be like. Don't tell your grandpa debate well I've been they had been able to find the money for butter. I've had not heard about this, this fifty cents for and I went to look into it and I didn't find the idea he had rented hundred dollar bills, but I did find a lot like a lot of claims. It has bankruptcy court where he was like now. I just granted Electric cars and all this a jury is also rented. Like I've been renting all of this stuff, I don't actually own any of it as part of his defence in those proceedings. So thank you to make for that email and thank you too, for the folks the written to us. Some of you have some of you with your own family stories about your own fail. Member members who were like I'm just gonna shape this margarine into the shape of a stick of butter. put it on the table and we have people over for company. If you would like to
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