John Brown, guerilla fighter whose famous last quote “I, John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.” 

According to, John Brown has been referred to as the most infamous abolitionist. He was raised to believe all men were created equal. He raised his own children to fight against slavery. John Brown and many of his sons died fighting slavery. John Brown, a true believer in violence, so much that famous trail blazers, such as Frederick Douglass, did not agree with John Brown’s method of abolishing slavery. 

At the funeral of Elijah Parish Lovejoy, John Brown proclaimed he was dedicating his life to the abolish of slavery. 

He moved to Springfield Massachusetts. He was able to hear Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth who both escaped slavery. John Brown was deeply affected by these speakers. He felt that it was necessary to be violent to end slavery.  

John Brown moved often. While living in North Elba, New York, he created a protective militant group for recently escaped slaves because of the Fugitive Slave Law which was part of the Compromise of 1850. Garrett Smith was a rich abolitionist gave away free land to help establish new African American farming communities in North Elba. Smith gifted Brown land to help establish new African American farming communities. 

Due to a law (the Kansas Nebraska Act) giving settlers the option to choose whether they wanted slavery or not, five of John Brown’s sons moved to Kansas to help it establish Kansas as a free state. Kansas became known as Bloody Kansas. 

Moving to Kansas in 1855 because John Brown wanted to raid the southern slave states to free slaves, he and many of his family members worked to gather guns and recruit fighters. He raised cows and ran a tannery while in Kansas. Many of his business endeavors failed in various places he lived including Massachusetts and Ohio His tannery in Kansas was an important part of the underground railroad where he helped to free approximately two thousand slaves. 

Although John Browne helped establish Kansas as a slave free state, when he moved to Kansas, he was unknown. His breaking point was when the pro slavery forces attacked Lawrence, a major anti-slavery town. The day after, Preston Brooks beat anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner. John Brown became terribly upset. At this point, John Brown started to kill pro slavery settlers. This was known as the Potawatomie Massacre. 

John Brown returned East with some of his sons to organize a plan to free slaves. He raised money and accumulated guns hoping to also recruit former slaves to fight. Then, wrote a Constitution he intended on using after he took over the southern slave states. He included direct election of the president and vice president, working on roads and other public projects as punishment of crimes in his document.

 John Brown was not able to get the support of Frederick Douglass. Although he was able to get Harriet Tubman to help him recruit former slaves in the fight against slavery, he only had 21 supporters. After John Brown’s invasion of Harper’s Ferry in Virginia. He wanted to organize a raid a federal arsenal. John Brown wanted to give the weapons to slaves to defend themselves. He was captured by US Marines led by Robert E Lee.

John Brown was hanged in public ay age 59. He was labeled as too extreme by most abolitionists. At the time of his death, most pro and anti-slavery activists did not have a good option of John Brown. He was buried in upstate New York at the John Brown farm. This farm is a landmark and open to tours. He is regarded as a martyr of the cause. Some view him as a terrorist while others see him as a hero.  

There are films about John Brown. He has taken his place in history and is now highly regarded as an abolitionist. Many people now consider him both a guerilla fighter and a hero. 

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