Beecher’s Bible: A Sharps 1853 from John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry

On October 16, 1859 John Brown and 19 men left the Kennedy farmhouse and made their way a few miles south to the Harpers Ferry Arsenal. They planned to seize the Arsenal and use its arms – along with 200 Sharps 1853 carbines and 1,000 pikes they had previously purchased – to ignite and arm a slave revolt. Brown was a true fanatic for the abolitionist cause, perfectly willing to spill blood for a just cause. His assault on the Arsenal lasted three days, but failed to incite a rebellion. Instead of attracting local slaves to his banner, he attracted local militia and the US Marines. His force was besieged in the arsenal firehouse, and when the Marines broke through the doors the captured 5 surviving members of the Brown party, including Brown himself. All five were quickly tried and found guilty of murder, treason, and inciting negroes to riot. They were sentenced to death, and hanged on December 2, 1859.

Most of Brown’s 200 Sharps carbines were left in the farmhouse hideout, to be distributed when the insurrection took hold. These were found by local militia, among them the Independent Greys, and some were kept as souvenirs – including this example.

There is an intriguing historical question as to whether Brown’s raid was ultimately good for the country or not. It was extremely divisive at the time, and it can be argued that the raid was a major factor leading to Lincoln’s election and the Civil War. Could slavery have been abolished without the need for a cataclysmic war if John Brown had not fractured the Republican Party? To what extent is killing for a cause justifiable? Do the ends always justify the means? John Brown had no doubts about his answers to these questions…but maybe he should have.


  1. Brown’s actions helped fracture the Democrat party, not the Republican party. Lincoln was the Republican candidate. Don’t buy into the rewriting of history that the Democrats are pushing these days.

    • You also missed out explaining why the carbines were called “Beecher’s Bibles”. The guns were surreptitiously shipped to Brown in boxes marked “Books and Bibles”. The name “Beecher” was a reference to Henry Ward Beecher, an outspoken Abolitionists in his own right.

    • Bart: I believe both parties had quite a bit of internal conflict. It is true that the Democrat party was unable to nominate a presidential candidate at their first convention in Charleston, with the Northern and Southern Democrat people strongly divided: they had 57 rounds of voting at the Charleston convention without a winner. They eventually did nominate Stephen A. Douglas at a second convention in Baltimore, but only after the Southern Democrats walked out.

      The Republican party also had strong internal divisions and Lincoln was nominated on the 3rd round of voting: he came in second on the first round, and the second round basically knocked out several lesser candidates. But had it not been for the divisions within the Republican party it seems certain that Seward would have been nominated on the first round.

      Real history is always very complicated and we study it, in my opinion, in order to better understand where we are now, today.

    • Democrats are not rewriting this history. Why is it that today only Republicans defend Confederate monuments (and even monuments to the violent imposition of Jim Crow in the 1870s after both parties agreed to terminate the Federal occupation)? Why is it that the only politicians today who call Abraham Lincoln a tyrant are Republicans like Ron Paul? Why is it that many Southern segregationists like Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms migrated from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party after the latter took over as the “States’ Rights” party? Why did David Duke run for governor of Louisiana as a Republican – and why does he now sound like a prophet of modern Republican rhetoric?

      You’re the ones struggling to rewrite all that.

      • Look on at all the threads that show utter confusion as to which political party freed the slaves after the Civil War. Somebody is obscuring history.

        • Quora? Hardly a reputable source for American history or for anything for that matter. There are thousands of documented sources that can point you in the direction of historical fact. As to which party was responsible for freeing the slaves? That would be the party that backed the Union forces during and after the war.

          • Vast numbers of Northern Democrats fought and died for the Union, even after the Emancipation Proclamation made abolition an official cause. And vast numbers of Republicans were still White supremacists, because that was the norm for American thought even among those criticizing slavery.

            So those Democrats who served in the Union forces and those Democratic politicians who supported the continuation of the war merely for anti-secessionist reasons could all be said to have backed Union forces. Ben Butler was a Democrat like many Union generals. And McClellan, as Democratic presidential candidate in 1864, refused to promise to give up the war.

            There were enough of these that the Republicans actually rebadged themselves as a coalition party in 1864, the National Union Party, and nominated a Democrat for Vice-President. The National Union ticket won 42 of 54 available Senate seats and 149 of 193 available House of Representatives seats.

          • The reference to Quora was not that it was the place to find true facts, but an example of how many people don’t grasp true facts because of poor information being fed to them.

  2. Another person who was ancillary to the Harpers Ferry raid, who would later be of historical significance, was John Wilkes Booth. Booth had asperations of military glory. I think he took his roles on stage a bit too seriously. Booth was something of a hanger-on of the Greys. He tried to reach Harpers Ferry when the Greys were sent there. But his official status with the Greys and whether he made it to Harpers Ferry while the fighting was still active is uncertain.

    • According to Edwards, Booth attended Brown’s hanging, in “dandy militia dress”, no less.

      Famous actor he may have been, but by all accounts in modern terms we’d call him a self-dramatizing emoboi. He was the younger son forever trying to upstage his father and elder brother, both better-known thespians than he was and probably better at it, too.

      When things didn’t go his way, he had a habit of using a riding crop to whip…his boots. Exactly why, no one has ever been able to satisfactorily explain.

      The boots are unavailable for comment.

      clear ether


  3. Let this be a lesson for those who fantasise and brag about starting a new rebellion and civil war in the USA!

    • Yes. The lesson is plan better. To go along with the present cultural suicide is unspeakably Craven.

      • Everything you call cultural suicide is what the Nazis called cultural suicide. Who ended up putting a bullet in his brain in a bunker?

        • …and…? By playing catamite to the regnant powers of the U.S. you put a bullet in your brain everytime you swallow their narrative. Your effort to stand pat while your country crumbles is a pinnacle of inverse perverse heroism.

      • What exact “culture” are you referring to? Your culture? My culture? Do you know what my culture is? Who gets to determine which culture is the culture about which we should start killing each other?

  4. Abraham Lincoln at the Cooper Institute, February 1860: “John Brown’s effort was peculiar. It was not a slave insurrection. It was an attempt by white men to get up a revolt among slaves …it was so absurd that the slaves, with all their ignorance, saw plainly enough that it could not succeed.” Republicans on the campaign trail spent much time denying any involvement with Brown, or any lawlessness altogether.

    I would argue the person who split the Democrats was Stephen Douglas, when Lincoln maneuvered him into an aggressively neutral public stand on slavery during the famous debates. The aggressively pro-slave Southern democrats then broke away for their own candidate. Thanks to Mr. Enzer for his clarification above.

    Brown’s murders in Kansas were certainly tit-for-tat killings, as even the most cursory reading of history would show. It was the ruthlessness of pro-slavers that swayed Brown and his supporters from passive nonviolence. It should be said that he also led abolitionist forces in several actual battles, “fair fights” if you will.

    To call Brown “good at PR” is an insult, even to a murderous fanatic. PR is produced by hired hacks who care not whether they believe what they are spouting. Brown was, in contrast, eloquent. He was also apparently fearless in the face of death and this equanimity impressed even pro-slavery Southerners who encountered him after he was condemned. That he set himself up for martyrdom is beyond dispute, as he refused all attempts at pardon, appeal or escape. To what degree he exacerbated the tensions leading to secession and Civil War will always be an arguable question.

    Incidentally Brown was tried and convicted for treason not against the United States, but against the Commonwealth of Virginia, in Virginia state court. Federal treason charges can only be brought for acts taken during declared wars.

    Booth, an actor, borrowed a uniform and attended Brown’s execution under pretense.

    Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” (another aggravating factor in the lead-up to the conflict), was Henry Ward Beecher’s sister.

    Brown’s contingent killed five and wounded ten, which fact I had to find in Wikipedia. Mr. eon’s citation, above, is not the full story of the raid, it is Confederate apologia, but does list all the possible firearms involved.

    • Brown was absolutely a terrorist. Terrorists have won a number of prominent historical victories, like the Irish War of Independence and the Israeli conquest of British Palestine. If your sovereign nation was created by terrorists, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t count.

      “Good PR” has become synonymous with propaganda in the apolitical minds of the public. Yet many eloquent idealists have written political propaganda. Brown correctly judged, after his capture, that he could win by losing, by becoming a martyr inspiring millions of others to kill and die. In that respect he was no different than bin Laden. Terrorism and propaganda are just useful techniques; the rightness of causes must be determined in other ways.

      The Missouri invasion of Kansas showed that slavery was trapped in a grow-or-die crisis. Thus Lincoln’s remark that the country must become all free or all slave. The legal contradictions between free and slave states were becoming untenable for all parties. The South had lost the demographic war and could only rule America as a minority to enforce slavery. An even more desperate act was planned by the governor of South Carolina right after Lincoln’s election: an invasion of Washington D.C. before Lincoln could be inaugurated by his own state militia and other states he was attempting to solicit. Invade, take over Congress, invalidate the results of a fair election with a fait accompli before anyone could stop it. Instead he ended up taking the less cowardly road of declaring independence and firing on Ft. Sumter.

  5. PS. What did it cost to buy 200 modern breechloading carbines in 1858? Where did that money come from? And what caliber is this one?

    • The internet says that the 1853 model was .52 caliber. Can’t say about the one Ian showed.

      The money came from Brown’s Abolitionist supporters. Whether they knew what the money was going to be used for is an interesting question.

      As far as cost goes, here is a quote about cost of long arms, once the Civil War started;
      “Cost was also an issue: in an era where a soldier earned $10-13 a month and a rifled musket might cost $10-20 to manufacture, a repeating rifle might cost $37-65 to manufacture”
      I have to guess Brown had to pay something like $30+ per carbine. More than the Springfield model muzzle-loading rifle-muskets, but less than the “repeating rifle”, which would be the early Henry lever action rifles or a Spencer. So I would say that the total cost would be $4,000 to $6,000. This was big bucks back then considering a laborer might get a dollar a day on the high end.

      • After the fact, at least some of his donors denied having any idea what he was doing with the money and/or the weapons. I’ve seen family correspondence that indicated at least one donor thought the money was going to buy weapons to defend innocent anti-slavery settlers in Kansas…

        Truth of that? No damn idea; it could be that individual was lying their ass off in order to plaster over issues with their money source in the family.

        I’m at a loss as to what the hell you could do to determine the truth of the matter at this date. After Harper’s Ferry, many people were trying to cover their asses, and not a lot more.

        • And even donating money to arm either side of the conflict between the pro and anti slavery Kansas settlers seems pretty dodgy.

          • Yet you see that a Confederate victory would have led to the same problem: neither side would have respected the new border, and activists on each side would have supported terrorist and insurgent actions across it. The goal would always be to trigger escalation and a renewed war. Slave ideology was becoming universalist just like abolitionism, and the very existence of any alternative way of life nearby would be as much a threat as Communism/Capitalism became in the Cold War. Because the North and South were both internally divided on White supremacism and the slavery it was created to justify.

            If I lived in such times I absolutely would be sending money to help extremists on my side, because casteism in all its forms requires a fundamentally unjust society.

          • End of the day, though? Did the Civil War do a damn thing to improve the lot of blacks in America? Did it “solve” the “race question”?

            None of that was either addressed or “fixed” through violence; it was all performed by what should have taken place in the beginning, namely moral persuasion that took decades to get across to the masses on both sides of the issue.

            So, what did the violence gain, in the end?

            Older I get, the less enthused I am for “military solutions”. Some things you can’t get around; you have to fight. But, they’re a hell of a lot less prevalent than conventional wisdom and the emotional heat of the moment would have it. Hitler was worth a war; what Japan was doing in China and Korea? Worth a war; fixing the issues of slavery? Not only did the Civil War not really settle the majority of the issues, it effectively caused the generations-long mistreatment of former slaves. I dare say that had the US gone the relatively peaceful route followed by the Brits in their freeing of the various Caribbean slave holdings they had, it would have worked out much better for all concerned.

            Some things are impossible to work out without violence. I don’t think the issue of slavery was one that absolutely had to be fought over; it had to be ended, but all concerned should have figured out another solution.

    • You can check “The Secret Six” by Otto Scott for the story of Brown’s covert supporters. When the raid failed, many fled the country, including Frederick Douglass (who was apparently privy to the plan). It’s hard to find, but a good read. A more recent “Secret Six” came out, but I haven’t read it yet.

  6. Whoops – another comment I tried to post above got truncated somehow … here it is:

    I wanted to join t out that the question of when violence is appropriate (and perhaps equally important: when it is effective) in pursuit of a “just cause” brings to mind a paper written in 2003 or 2004 by a college student who happens to be Ian McCollum 🙂

    “Forgotten History: Violent Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust”

  7. “(…) October 16, 1859(…)willing to spill blood for a just cause(…)”
    Now I am extremely confused, how is 1st related with U.S. involvement in Panama in 1989?

    • It’s not – Just Cause was the name picked for the 1989 invasion of Panama, just like Desert Storm for the invasion of Kuwait in 1991 and Iraqi Freedom for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The invasion of Panama should be read as Just ‘Cause.

  8. Interesting discussion and presentation. I live in the heart of Bleeding Kansas, in Lawrence. It could be well argued that what became the Civil War actually started in this area in the 1850’s, almost a decade before the “official” start of hostilities. Raids and clashes between armed groups of pro and anti slavery forces took place all along the Kansas Missouri border. While John Brown is often portrayed as a violent anti slavery zealot, it should be noted the were similar pro slavery counterparts who while less well known now, were notorious during the time. For example Senator Jim Lane, who committed acts of violence equal to those of Brown and his followers.
    Much of the funding for the anti slavery movement in this region, including the purchase of arms used in the Borders War and the Harpers Ferry Raid, came from the New England Immigrant Society. The NEIS supported the immigration of antislavery individuals to the Kansas Territory, the creation and support of the Underground Railroad network in Kansas, political efforts to bring Kansas into the Union as a Free State and the arming of Free State settlers. The Beecher Bible Society was largely funded by them as a means of arming antislavery proponents in the Kansas Territory.

    • Good post. Kansas and Missouri were not safe places to live in those days. And both sides were determined to make it so.

    • This brings into focus the problem of “an armed citizenry” when the citizenry is divided into factions intent on each other’s destruction. It’s far more logical to organize a militia to wipe out your rivals than to use it to overthrow the professional army of the central government. Governments will often overlook things like the former when convenient, but not the latter.

  9. Some of my ancestors were involved in the whole “finance John Brown” fiasco. Family documents include some correspondence where one individual who donated is protesting that they had no idea what the money was going to, thinking they were financing John Brown’s “good works”. Whatever those were…

    In the final analysis, I think they were all about equally wrong, both the slavers and the abolitionists who advocated for violent overthrow of the whole institution. Any time you start with the premise that violence is a solution, you’re actively preventing any sort of peaceful alternative. Sometimes that’s justified, but since nobody was killing anyone before the two factions started murdering opponents in Kansas… Yeah.

    Slavery was unequivocally wrong, but they could have and should have come up with something other than killing over 600,000 fellow Americans to no good purpose as a solution. The irony of the situation is that the assholes who forced the issue into violence lost everything in the end, including many of the original financiers for the abolitionists like John Brown. The ancestors of mine who spent all that money supporting Brown and his ilk were all bankrupt and poverty-stricken before the end of the 1870s due to the financial dislocations stemming from the Civil War, which was darkly congruous with the state of the Southern plantation owners…

    Set me down in that era, with what I know today? I think I’d be hard-pressed to figure out who the actual villains really were. Slavers? Sure; but, let us not forget that a lot of the abolitionists were folks who’d originally come out of moneyed families that got rich back during the days of the so-called “Triangle Trade”, and who profited immensely from the import/export trade with Southern cotton…

    I still think there was a better solution to be had than killing nearly a million people and destroying the South. What it was? No idea, but the real tragedy is that nobody was really looking for anything other than either status quo or utter destruction.

    • The dark history of the money accumulated by so many “fine and upstanding” (meaning filthy rich) families of New England is something that is not allowed to get much attention.

      • All that attention would prove was that slavery was essential to the foundation of American capitalism. The entire colonial economy was built on supporting the success of Southern tobacco and cotton, which was not possible until the failing indentured-servitude system was replaced by a flood of slaves made possible by the world’s largest slave-trading company, the Royal African Company co-founded by a future King of England. That in turn required shipbuilding in New England and banking in New York. That in turn made the 13 colonies viable as a breakaway nation. Without slavery, the colonies would have become something unrecognizable to us.

        However, that dependency makes it all the more laudable that voters of New England were the first to oppose slavery, even if it was an easy sacrifice to make in local economics, because it condemned it as universally immoral. That brick wall thrown up against the state abolitions of slavery successfully marching across the northern states before 1800 demarcates where slavery had become more than economics, it had become culture.

    • Possible solution: Abolish slavery, but have the Abolitionists put their money where their mouths were and reimburse the slaveholders so that the whole economy of the slave states would not collapse.

      An interesting book is “The Internal Enemy” by Alan Taylor. The book talks about how slavery interacted with the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 in Virginia. One thing that the book brings up is that even the slaveholders who were not totally fixated on slavery felt themselves economically trapped by it. If the slaves were freed their families would face total economic ruin. This helped to prevent any solution other than utter destruction.

      You capture the ethos of the times — my way or the graveyard.

      • The problem with this is that it conceals the full function of slavery. To understand this we must look back at why the indentured-servant system failed in the mid-1600s. The thing that has really been concealed from our educations is that originally captive Africans taken to Virginia were sold into indentured servitude, not slavery. This is because England had outlawed debt slavery some generations back and the new colonies had probably not yet gained distinctive legal practices. Caucasian (usually voluntary) and African (involuntary) servants worked side by side in a system plagued by overproduction of tobacco due to the right of the servants to grow their own cash crops. The big change happened when Virginia faced a crisis because (a) indentured servants of all races joined Bacon’s Rebellion, a 1676 insurrection by a Virginia landowner against bans on seizure of Native land, and (b) more and more servants were fleeing to take on new identities in other colonies, but African fugitives had a far harder time passing than Caucasian ones did.

        Thus slavery was a business decision. But it was done by creating a new legal concept of race. To many back then, “race” meant that one was English, Irish, Scots, etc. Meaning many of the servants were recent enemies of their English masters. The invention of the White race created an artificial tribe merging the exploiters and the White servants, who were now freed and sometimes even given land. The freed servants, largely Scots, embraced their new status and right to violently abuse both Natives whose land they stole (thus making personal weapons a form of liberation) and against the Englishmen’s slaves. Which is very abnormal for a slave system where the master normally would protect his property from damage by lessers. The sadism, I argue, was the unwritten part of the social contract between plantation owners and “rednecks”. And the rednecks embraced the status with the enthusiasm of the guards in the Stanford Prison Experiment. And we are still living in the culture they created.

        By the late 1600s it was already being said that colonial culture differed from England’s in that a man’s status was judged by how many slaves he owned. That’s fundamental identity, fundamental hierarchy. A caste system in which the middle-caste rednecks violently supported a system which disadvantaged them (competing against slave labor). The value of slaves was not just their labor value (which was huge) but their role in defining who was on top of whom in every aspect of life, based on a religion of White supremacy.

        Paradoxically, this meant that ending slavery both would destroy and would not destroy the South. Even wrecked by the Civil War, the South was able to transition to wage labor quickly. The trick was to find a replacement for the ideology of slavery itself which would not end White supremacy and the caste pyramid.

        And surprisingly to the plantation owners and unfortunately for future generations, they succeeded. Because it was the South that won the subsequent war to teach the North how to think about Black people, as seen by every aspect of national culture before WW2.

    • Kirk, it was illegal to even advocate anti-slavery ideas in the Southern states by the 1850s. Slavery was becoming crueler and more absolute over time. Clever Southerners were already experimenting with using slaves in factories, a study that Albert Speer would take much further. Atun-Shei Films, a Youtube channel that does many Civil War videos, highlighted the growing absolutism of Southern intellectuals by then. They abandoned States’ Rights arguments and small-government arguments to proclaim that White supremacy was a universal truth, but so was human inequality in general, and that the naturally superior must rule as dictators over the masses.

      There was no Southern constituency for a peaceful solution. The big slaveowners not only counted on the speculative value of slaves for most of their wealth, but also the social status that the act of owning other humans conferred. They were like little kings, arranged in a feudal pyramid over those who owned few and those who owned none and those who were owned. That made them the owners of Southern thought, and of Southern politics. They even were the bankrollers of the Southern militia system, just as feudal lords got their status from having private armies. The Southern use of the term “Colonel” was expanding from their ownership of militia regiments to a form of noble title and status. Just as medieval feudal titles like Duke and Baron descended from ranks of commanders used in the late Roman Empire, transformed into sovereign titles. Logically the Southern colonels would have evolved into an explicit caste that controlled everything.

      They had followed the logic of inequality to the point where they had too much on the line to ever willingly give up slavery or even imagine life without it.

      • I’m not arguing that the Southerners were right; I’m just saying that the idiocy was there on both sides, and it should not have been.

        I’ve been into some original documents that were from a Scotsman who’d married into a Southern plantation dynasty. At the time of the marriage, he and his wife were the “poor cousins”, and were not a part of the whole situation, at all. Unfortunately, an epidemic swept through the region where her extended family had plantations and slaves, and she wound up as sole adult heir to two of them, being at the time based out of (if I remember correctly…) New York.

        Neither one of them wanted to be slave owners; neither one wanted anything at all to do with either plantation, but because there were minor surviving cousins they were responsible for, they had no choice in the matter but to try and deal with it all as best as they could.

        It was virtually impossible to disentangle everything or do what they saw as the “right thing”, and if they’d tried freeing all the slaves, then the neighbors would have likely seen to their deaths. Economically, it was a mess that took years of work to get out from under, and that was with the best of intentions. The final denouement wound up with them selling up at a loss, once another epidemic swept the kids away that they were doing it all for. Health sacrificed, husband and wife wound up back in New England and back at whaling and ship chandlery. I’m unsure, but I suspect that the strain on her health from dealing with all that was why they themselves never had kids.

        The creation and imposition of chattel slavery was a long-term disaster for all concerned. The slave-owners got themselves on a treadmill they couldn’t get off of, and the victims of it all got screwed all along the way until well into the 20th Century.

        And, I still say that the whole thing could have been worked out, had the involved parties not been a bunch of damned idiots. You read a lot of the Southerners before the war, and they’re so damned “Rah, rah, we’re warriors…” that you’re aghast at the idiocy of it all. Nobody involved was really at all conscious of the economic or industrial facts of life, let alone the demographic ones. Not that a lot of the Northerners were much better…

      • Thank you for this comment. Carolina-based Othais over on C&Rsenal once made reference to “the War of Northern Aggression.” Oh, you mean “The Slaveholders’ Revolt?” That the South had ceased to be a democracy, and that secession and then war were prompted by aristocrats, was what cued Lincoln, in the Gettysburg Address, to describe the civil war as a struggle for government by and for the people — a system worth defending no matter how flawed.

        My thanks also to Mr. Steve Byrn for his view from that Ground Zero.

        I remind Mr. Kirk that Lincoln was pushing for compensated emancipation to help end the war as early as 1862. I also refer him to Lincoln’s Second Inaugural address, wherein he correctly summarized: “one … would rather make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish.” The war, for the south, was pro-slavery via breakup of the nation, but for the north, pro-union. That it did not promptly solve the problems of race relations in America was perhaps inevitable, though certainly a tragedy. I would suggest that widespread economic hardship to both winner and loser was inevitable. And I would argue that it did improve the lot of every black person in America, in that a free existence is better than an enslaved one, no matter how miserable.

        • “And I would argue that it did improve the lot of every black person in America, in that a free existence is better than an enslaved one, no matter how miserable.”

          Just how “free” were all the former slaves who went from “cared for property” to “sharecropper”?

          The Civil War didn’t do a hell of a lot to improve the lives of the people it was supposedly fought to “save”, other than ruining the Southern economy for generations and then locking them into perpetual poverty. Had the whole thing been settled peaceably, then the economy of the South would have remained intact, offering opportunity for the former slaves that they were locked out of because the old system was destroyed and devastated. The Civil War truly “solved” nothing; it just created a different set of problems and perpetuated a pernicious and divisive racial situation that we’re still dealing with. If they’d left the economy intact in the South and ended slavery along with it, then all of them would have been better off.

          The US could have ended slavery much as other nations did, like Brazil. Which was, arguably, far more dependent on slavery than the US ever was…

          If Brazil could do it, without killing hundreds of thousands and crippling an entire generation, why couldn’t the United States?

          • The war had not been fought to free slaves or improve their conditions. That had been a byproduct.
            The fear of the US becoming generally abolitionist (thus there was not a real imminent danger for the slave states to be forced to change) was the main cause of the secession, but the secession was the cause of the war. 600.000 men died to demonstrate a United state has not the right to secede from the Union.

            As for Brazil, it’s important to note that Brazil never had formal sanctions against interracial marriage so, even when slavery was allowed, segregation was impossible (and, by the time slavery had been abolished, much of the population was already of mixed race). In the US, Anti-miscegenation laws survived not only in former slave states, but in much of the Union, well past the Civil War.

          • Please keep in mind the war was fought to preserve the United States and ending slavery was a strategic, almost accidental, means of achieving that end. Efforts at bettering the lot of black people continued until the Republicans abandoned the effort in 1877, in exchange for the presidency. Efforts by black people, and their allies, to better their lot, continued, and are ongoing.

            Let us count the ways non-slavery improved the lives of every ex-slave, even the sharecroppers — remember this is just “off the top of my head” supposition and not a comprehensive list: 1) You could leave (as many did), and the slave patrols could not take you back 2) You could legally learn to read, and perhaps improve your lot in life 3) Your family would not be sold away from you, nor you away from your family 4) Your wives and daughters were no longer routinely and with impunity raped by masters 5) If you were beaten or whipped, it was on the sly, and until 1877 at least the US Army protected you. 6) You had the possibility of learning a trade, taking a side job, saving up your money, bettering your prospects 7) You could join the army or navy 8) You could practice the religion of your choice, or refuse to practice religion 9) You sat down at a table for your meals, had some choice in your food and drink (you could drink alcohol!), perhaps even go hunting or fishing. I’m certain this list could continue, and fill a page. Might I recommend Booker T. Washington’s “Up from Slavery” to perhaps widen your knowledge of just how miserable slavery was? In Washington’s childhood, for example, he and his family were forced to eat meals from a trough, with oyster shells for spoons. I challenge you to find a statement from one ex-slave saying, “I was better off as a slave.”

            Thank you however for your considered expertise in the firearms field, where I take very little exception.

    • The United States was the only nation that fought a civil war to abolish slavery. Both the North and South denied slavery was the cause when the shooting started. As Lincoln said, I hope God is on our side, but I most have Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri (all slave states). When the shooting stopped, the South continued to talk about States Rights while the North now forgot things like Lincoln’s First Inaugural and wrapped itself in the 13th Amendment. Politics hasn’t changed much, has it?

  10. A textbook example of a loaded question fallacy deserves exposure. Per the obvious fallacy part, which is both false and hilarious, did the actions of Brown fracture the Republican party? The event actually further fueled abolitionism in the North. I bet the Party of Slavery didn’t think the Republican party was fractured at Appomattox. As far as the need for war, when is there ever a need for it? The instigator(s) could just not do those things that lead up to it. To what extent is killing for a cause justifiable? When the cause is just. Do the ends always justify the means? Always is all the time, so no.

    Cool piece of history. The engraving is awesome. It probably only cost a half dime to do it at the time, or it was just done for free by the guy that grabbed it?? I bet an engraving like that would cost me a hundred USD today.

  11. A slave insurrection was the one thing that terrified and united white southerners. In 1860, 3.5 million of the future Confederacy’s 13 million were slaves, and in the deep south it was more like 1:2. They were keen observers of the Haitian revolt of 1795-1805 that resulted in the death or exile of virtually the entire French slaveholding population and organized their militias accordingly.

    • Which was precisely why John Brown’s efforts were so damned short-sighted and foolish.

      If it wasn’t for Harper’s Ferry, a lot of people would have reacted differently to many of the events leading up to the Civil War. Whether that would have helped is one of those imponderables, but I remain convinced that things could have been worked out absent the violent idiots on both sides of the argument.

      Something like the slave issue in the US was simply not amenable to solution by violence. The aftermath of the war, and the entire history of how it was dealt with even up to this present day clearly shows that.

      Contrast that with the relatively benign and essentially non-violent solution that the British found for their slave-owning island societies in the Caribbean and elsewhere. Also, compare/contrast what violence did for Haiti, going the other direction.

      Slavery was a moral wrong; killing nearly a million people didn’t do anything to solve the issue other than compound the whole thing.

      Do also note the way the Brazilians ended their slave system, which was essentially peaceful by comparison. I remain convinced that absent the idiots like John Brown on both sides of the question, the problem could have been solved without resorting to warfare.

  12. Posters need to read THE PECULIAR INSTITUTION By Kenneth Stampp for a WELL RESEARCHED examination of Slavery and Bondsmen in the U.S. The concept of what Slavery should be was NOT universal in the Southern States, and racism existed in the North.

    • Flashman and the Angel of the Lord, John Browns raid on Harpers ferry; a novel, but does a good job of being like a film… You can imagine you are in, so a good book.

    • I think the 1st point about slavery to raise in regards Englands role is; initally we bought slaves, enslaved by black leaders who traded with arabs. Now we, undoubtedly commericalised this existing resource to it’s max extent.

      But for the Bristol slave owner statue pullers, well unforunately his cargo was actually enslaved by other blacks.

      • And traded by Muslim arabs, so we do not in my opinion owe any reparations; we did not start it, we used the existing resource; to it’s maxium extent. Before we banned it, in an attempt to get at Napolean. But no. Romans enslaved captured Celts etc should, Dumbarton in Scotland sue Rome; were does it end.

        • “(…)Napolean(…)”
          Who is that and what is his relation to Napoleon?

          “(…)Romans(…)should(…)sue Rome(…)”
          Are you claiming continuity (law term) between ancient Rome and today Repubblica Italiana?

  13. Having been to Africa I’d lead a raid on Harpers Ferry for… The right for decent toilets, and therefore a sewerage system. I would say stop selling these twats guns, and build some decent bogs; decent bogs will change the continent for the better. They can sit enthroned as us, and read a periodical; flush the fecker to god knows were, wash their hands. And bingo, an advanced civilization arguing about do women have penis’s will one day emerge…

    I had 2nd thoughts then, but it is worth it.

  14. Of course this comment section is steeped in politics. I’ll stay out as Ian tries to keep that off the site. I’m surprised that the word PEZ did not come up in the video. Sharps had a PEZ dispenser for primers way before the first candy dispenser.

  15. She’s good isn’t she “At playing the guitar” Well she is, anyway thats what we a crusade for Africans to have 1st world shitboxes fuck Al Gore and this meaningless green shit. Lets raid Harpers ferry and build them bogs, sewerage systems etc. Mutha fuckin electic Dacia dusters you twat Gore, what the… F… Hmmm, burp; Anyone as John Brown would have said, each man deserves a decent turd under god… Or such. Hallejuah.

    • “(…)Al Gore(…)”
      I am again confused, please explain lucidly link between “(…)October 16, 1859(…)” and said candidate for President of United States?

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