John Brown was a very passionate abolitionist that was born in Torrington, Connecticut in 1800 (Civil). Brown’s father, a strict Calvinist, greatly opposed slavery. For that reason, the family moved to Northern Ohio when Brown was five years of age. During the year of 1812, while Brown was delivering a herd of cattle, he was lodged with a man. This man owned a boy slave and although Brown was treated quite well, the slave was beaten before Brown. This memory would forever haunt Brown (John Brown. PBS).
John Brown married twice. His first wife was Dianthe Lusk and they married in 1820 and soon after her death, he marries Mary Ann Day in 1833 (Civil). He fathered twenty children and his expanding family traveled to Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. He declared bankruptcy in 1842. However, he was still able to support the abolitionist cause and became a conductor in the Underground Railroad. He also later established the League of Gileadites in 1851. This was an organization established to helped slaves escape to Canada (John Brown. Civil).
In 1847, John Brown met with Frederick Douglass. Frederick even stated this of their meeting, “Brown is in sympathy a black man, and as deeply interested in our cause, as though his own soul had been pierced with the iron of slavery (John Brown- 19th).” It was there at that meeting that Brown first defined his strategy to lead a war to free slaves (John Brown, PBS). In 1849, Brown settled his family in the community of North Elba in New York (John Brown’s 1859). North Elba was a community that was established by Gerrit Smith, who donated large tracts of land (John Brown. PBS).
The Fugitive Slave Act of 1851, was the second of a pair of laws that allowed the capture and return of runaway slaves that were in the territory of the United States. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1851 added more provisions concerning fugitive slaves. In addition, harsher punishments were imposed for anyone who interfered with the capture of the slaves (Fugitive). In response to this, Brown helped form the League of Gileadites (John Brown- 19th). The Fugitive Slave Act of 1851 enraged the Northern abolitionists, Henry David Thoreau included (Donahue).
In 1855, John Brown moves to Kansas to join five of his sons there with a supply of weapons. For quite a few years later, Brown was the leader of a group of fighters in guerilla combat against pro-slavery advocates. On May 24, 1856, Brown and his men go to Pottawatomie Creek and murder five pro-slavery colonists (Timeline).
John Brown’s plans changed over the course of time and at one point he even thought of creating a state for blacks in the Appalachian Mountains. Afterwards, he made the decision of an armed rebellion which he would lead into the mountains, were they could make raids into several states. In order to get the weapons necessary he decided to take over the United States armory located at Harpers Ferry in Virginia (John Brown’s raid).