By Thomas Fleming
By the time John Brown hung from the gallows for his crimes at Harper’s Ferry, Northern abolitionists had made him a “holy martyr” of their crusade opposed to Southern slave proprietors. This Northern hatred for Southerners lengthy predated their objections to slavery. They have been confident that New England, whose spokesmen had started the yank Revolution, must have been the chief of the hot kingdom. as a substitute, that they had been displaced by means of Southern “slavocrats” like Thomas Jefferson.
This malevolent envy exacerbated the South’s maximum worry: a race struggle. Jefferson’s cry, “We are actually to be pitied,” summed up their dread. for many years, extremists in either areas flung insults and threats, growing intractable enmities. through 1861, just a civil conflict that might kill 1000000 males may perhaps store the Union.
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Extra info for A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War
In his manic self belief in his plan, John Brown overlooked features of The Ferry that urged it was once lots below an incredible position from which to release an revolt. large cliffs towered over town. Any army strength in command of these heights can make raiders within the streets or structures of Harpers Ferry super uncomfortable. one other challenge used to be the town’s proximity to significant inhabitants facilities. It used to be little greater than sixty miles from Baltimore and Washington, DC, with significant highways working to either towns. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad’s major line additionally ran in the course of the city. those realities made it not likely that Brown could have a lot time to unfold the note of his rebel to the japanese elements of Virginia and Maryland, the place slaves have been various, ahead of whites prepared critical competition. round Harpers Ferry, there have been few huge farms labored by means of gangs of box fingers. just about all the area’s slaves have been apartment servants. Brown’s first order, as they approached The Ferry, was once to chop the telegraph traces. The strangeness—one may well even say the folly—of this command might develop into obvious within the following couple of hours. at the Baltimore & Ohio bridge, the raiders quick subdued the evening watchman; they stationed males in this bridge and extra at the Shenandoah bridge. the remaining moved quickly during the silent streets to the redbrick armory, the place an unarmed gateman used to be their in basic terms competition. He refused to give up his keys, yet Brown used his crowbar to wreck the lock. within they speedy took ownership of the armory complicated whereas Brown introduced in a prophetic voice: “I are looking to unfastened the entire Negroes during this nation [Virginia]. ” If the electorate intervene with me, i have to basically burn the city and feature blood. ”6 Brown for my part led one other detachment to Hall’s Island to occupy the gun manufacturing unit there. in the meantime, different participants of his tiny military seized blacks and whites at the streets and herded them into the armory. one other five-man detachment headed into the rustic to Beall-Air, the plantation condo of Colonel Lewis W. Washington, a forty-six-year-old great-grandnephew of the 1st president. Brown sought after him not just for the ethical impression of his identify, but additionally for a ceremonial sword the colonel owned, which the daddy of the rustic had supposedly acquired from King Frederick the nice of Prussia. while balding, black-mustached Colonel Washington opened the door in his nightcap and faced leveled rifles, he stepped again and stated, “Possibly you've gotten the courtesy to inform me what this implies. ” The chief of the detachment, Aaron Stevens, tousled that they have been making plans to loose all of the South’s slaves, and taking him prisoner used to be a primary step. As Washington dressed, the raiders discovered the ceremonial sword and several other rifles, which in addition they appropriated. Stevens requested if Colonel Washington had an eye fixed. whilst he stated sure, Stevens held out his hand. “I wish it. ” “You shall now not have it, sir. ” Washington spoke back. Stevens demanded the entire profit the home. “I am going to talk to you very plainly,” the colonel stated.
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