John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry

Richard Cavendish recalls the slave liberation movement in 19th-century Kansas.

A virtual civil war over slavery in Kansas in the 1850s attracted the attention of John Brown, a devout Calvinist in his mid-fifties, who regarded slavery as an abominable sin against God and a breach of the principles of the Declaration of Independence. Five of his sons had moved to Kansas and in 1855 he joined them with a supply of rifles and swords. For several years after that he led a band of anti-slavery fighters in guerrilla warfare against pro-slavery activists.

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