John Brown

(1800—1859) American abolitionist

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US abolitionist. Fired by a mixture of religious fanaticism and a violent hatred of slavery, Brown was responsible for the Pottawatomie massacre, in which five pro-slavery men were murdered. He rapidly emerged as one of the leading figures in the violent local struggle that was making “Bleeding Kansas” into a national issue. His most dramatic gesture came in October 1859 when, at the head of a party of about 20, he seized the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, in the belief that he could precipitate a slave uprising. The arsenal was recaptured by soldiers two days later, and Brown was hanged for treason and murder.

Subjects: Arts and Humanities — Warfare and Defence.

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