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1 “Is John Brown an American Hero?” Historical Overview and Background Oakland Unified School District District Assessment 8th Grade U.S. History Spring.

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Presentation on theme: "1 “Is John Brown an American Hero?” Historical Overview and Background Oakland Unified School District District Assessment 8th Grade U.S. History Spring."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 “Is John Brown an American Hero?” Historical Overview and Background Oakland Unified School District District Assessment 8th Grade U.S. History Spring Semester, 2011

2 2 “Is John Brown an American Hero?” Who was John Brown? What actions is he remembered for? Where did his actions take place? When did he act? Why did he take the actions he did?

3 3 Introduction John Brown ( ) was an abolitionist who took direct action to end slavery. He used force to free slaves and wanted to begin a slave revolt in the South. One of the most controversial abolitionists, Brown was regarded by some as a martyr (hero who died for a cause), by others as insane, and by others as a a treasonous criminal.

4 4 Kansas, May 24,1856 In response to an attack by pro-slavery forces on an anti-slavery town in Kansas, John Brown and six companions dragged five proslavery men and boys from their beds at Pottawatomie Creek, split open their skulls with a sword and cut off their hands. “Tragic Prelude” -John Steuart Curry, Mural in Kansas State Capitol

5 5 On October 16, 1859, John Brown led 21 men (5 blacks and 16 whites) on a raid of the federal arsenal [place where weapons are kept] at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He planned to take the weapons and use them to start a slave revolt. The plan did not work. Brown was wounded and quickly captured, and moved to Charlestown, Virginia, where he was tried and convicted of treason. John Brown was hanged on December 2, from Africans in America, Harpers Ferry, Virginia 1859

6 6 John Brown Photograph by Black & Bachelder, This daguerreotype, probably made in 1846 or 1847, is the earliest known portrait of the insurgent abolitionist John Brown. The artist, Augustus Washington, was the son of a former slave. - From “Civil War at the Simthsonian,”

7 7 Six Radical Abolitionists who funded Brown’s Fight Against Slavery 1. George Luther Stearns - one of the chief financiers of Emigrant Aid Company, which facilitated the settlement of Kansas by anti- slavery homesteaders. 2. Gerrit Smith -- a nervous, eccentric, and very wealthy man. 3. Franklin Sanborn -- a young, idealistic Concord schoolmaster, and friend of Thoreau and Emerson 4. Thomas Wentworth Higginson -- a minister and Higginson was a minister and from one of the oldest families in New England. 4. Reverend Theodore Parker -- an eloquent and controversial Unitarian minister. 5. Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe -- a highly respected pioneer of educational reforms for the blind, insane and feeble-minded

8 8 Where is Harpers Ferry, Virginia ? Slave State Free State

9 9 John Brown’s Pre-Raid Headquarters Outside of Harpers Ferry

10 10 What Happened During the Raid October 18, 1859

11 11 John Brown Holds Hostages From PBS, “Africans in America,” Brown and his men would capture 60 men and hold them as hostages. This image depicts a few of the hostages.

12 12 Fighting Between Brown’s Men and The U.S. Marines Periodicals Collection, West Virginia State Archives,

13 13 John Brown and Two Sons at Harpers Ferry

14 14 US Army and Marine Captors of Brown and His Men Lt. Israel Green, USMC Robert E. Lee, U.S. Army J.E.B. Stuart, U.S. Army From the National Park Service guide to John Brown's Raid,

15 15 What Happened After the Raid

16 16 Southern Newspaper Headlines after John Brown’s Raid

17 17 "It [Brown’s plan to start a slave revolt] was an amazing proposition, -- desperate in its character, seemingly inadequate in its provision of means, and of very uncertain results.... But no argument could prevail against his settled purpose, with many or with few, -- and he left us only the alternatives of betrayal, desertion, or support. We chose the last." - Franklin Sanborn

18 18 The Trial of John Brown October 26, 1859 John Brown Virginia Historical Society,

19 19 “Now if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life, for the furtherence of the ends of justice, and to MINGLE MY BLOOD FURTHER WITH THE BLOOD OF MY CHILDREN, and with the blood of millions in this Slave country, whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments [laws], - I say, LET IT BE DONE.” – November 2, 1859 John Brown Addresses the Court on Sentence of Death The Historical Society of Pennsylvania,

20 20 The Execution of John Brown December 2, 1859 The Execution Of John Brown, In A Stubble Field, Near Charlestown, Va. Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, 10 December 1859 (Virginia Historical Society, Call no. AP2.F82 o.s.)

21 21 Who Joined Brown and What Happened to Them? (3 of the 22) John Cook – escaped during raid, later captured and executed. John H. Kagi – killed during raid Dauphin Thompson – killed during raid From the National Park Service guide to John Brown's Raid,

22 22 Who Joined Brown and What Happened to Them? (3 of the 22) Dangerfield Newby (an escaped slave) - killed during raid William Thompson – killed during raid Sheridan Leary (an escaped slave) - killed during raid From the National Park Service guide to John Brown's Raid,

23 23 Who Joined Brown and What Happened to Them? (4 of the 22) Osborn Perry Anderson (free African) - escaped during raid and never captured - Steward Taylor – killed during raid - John C. Copeland (free African American) – captured, imprisoned, and later executed - Jeremiah Anderson – killed during raid From the National Park Service guide to John Brown's Raid,

24 24 What happened to them: Gerrit Smith suffered a breakdown. He was led off to an asylum, "waving his arms and calling out that he was going to Virginia to suffer with John Brown." Howe and Sterns took off for Canada and remained there until after the execution. Sanborn twice fled to Canada, fearing his arrest was imminent. On April 3, 1860, federal marshals did attempt to capture Sanborn, but the townspeople of Concord turned out to protect him. Higginson didn’t run. He considered a last minute plan to save Brown by kidnapping Governor Wise of Virginia, but it was never attempted. He would always feel responsible for Brown’s demise. "I...should have realized the need to protect John Brown from himself." Reverend Theodore Parker was in Rome, dying from tuberculosis. He hailed Brown as an American saint and, on news of his death, said; "The road to heaven is as short from the gallows as from the throne." In the weeks following the raid Brown’s six secret supporters expected to be arrested and taken to Virginia to stand trial. They sent lawyers to represent Brown in court, hatched plots to break him out of jail, but their real question was whether to stay or run.

25 25 After John Brown was executed in 1859, a song now declared that "John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave. His soul is marching on!" During the Civil War the song had spread throughout the Union army. Soldiers sang it as they marched through the South. "Marching On" — the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Colored Regiment Singing John Brown's March in the Streets of Charleston, February 21, 1865 Harper's Weekly, 18 March 1865 (Library of Congress) “John Brown’s Body…”

26 26 John Brown’s Legacy – In Art Look closely at the following three slides – What idea about Brown and his actions is the artist trying to convey?

27 27 The Last Moments of John Brown by Thomas Hovenden, 1884 (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, used with permission) Brown wrote from jail, "I have asked to be spared from having any mock; or hypocritical prayers made over me, when I am publicly murdered: & that my only religious attendants be poor little, dirty, ragged, bare headed, & barefooted Slave Boys; & Girls; led by some old grey headed Slave Mother." That statement became the basis for a myth about a slave mother and child being present at the hanging, the latter receiving a kiss from Brown. In 1884, Thomas Hovenden used the story to create this painting.

28 28 Ralph Waldo Emerson said that Brown's death would "make the gallows as glorious as the cross." This image shows a heroic Brown being adored by a slave mother and child as he walks to his execution on December 2, John Brown, The Martyr New York: Currier and Ives, 1870

29 29 John Brown Going to His Hanging by Horace Pippin, 1942 Pippin was a black artist who revered John Brown as much as he did Abraham Lincoln. (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, used with permission)


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