Landmark Event - John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, VA, October 16, 1859

John Brown was a radical American abolitionist who advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to abolish slavery. He first gained attention when he led groups of volunteers to fight during the Bleeding Kansas crisis. Brown's most famous action was the 1859 raid he led against the federal armory at Harpers Ferry; seizing the arsenal, he killed seven people and injured others. His goal was to gain weapons to arm slave insurrections in the South. The raid was defeated by US Marines, led by Robert E. Lee. Brown's trial for treason to the State of Virginia and his execution by hanging, led to further distrust and estrangement between the North and South.