A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War

By Thomas Fleming

By the time John Brown hung from the gallows for his crimes at Harper’s Ferry, Northern abolitionists had made him a ““holy martyr” of their crusade opposed to Southern slave vendors. This Northern hatred for Southerners lengthy predated their objections to slavery. They have been confident that New England, whose spokesmen had began the yank Revolution, must have been the chief of the hot state. as a substitute, they'd been displaced by means of Southern ““slavocrats” like Thomas Jefferson.

This malevolent envy exacerbated the South’s maximum worry: a race conflict. Jefferson’s cry, ““We are actually to be pitied,” summed up their dread. for many years, extremists in either areas flung insults and threats, developing intractable enmities. through 1861, just a civil struggle that will kill one million males might keep the Union.

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He refused to give up his keys, yet Brown used his crowbar to wreck the lock. within they quick took ownership of the armory complicated whereas Brown introduced in a prophetic voice: “I are looking to unfastened all of the Negroes during this kingdom [Virginia]. ” If the electorate intrude with me, i need to in simple terms burn town and feature blood. ”6 Brown in my view led one other detachment to Hall’s Island to occupy the gun manufacturing facility there. in the meantime, different individuals of his tiny military seized blacks and whites at the streets and herded them into the armory. one other five-man detachment headed into the rustic to Beall-Air, the plantation residence of Colonel Lewis W. Washington, a forty-six-year-old great-grandnephew of the 1st president. Brown sought after him not just for the ethical influence of his identify, but additionally for a ceremonial sword the colonel owned, which the daddy of the rustic had supposedly bought from King Frederick the good of Prussia. whilst balding, black-mustached Colonel Washington opened the door in his nightcap and faced leveled rifles, he stepped again and acknowledged, “Possibly you could have the courtesy to inform me what this implies. ” The chief of the detachment, Aaron Stevens, twisted up that they have been making plans to loose the entire South’s slaves, and taking him prisoner used to be a primary step. As Washington dressed, the raiders stumbled on the ceremonial sword and several other rifles, which in addition they appropriated. Stevens requested if Colonel Washington had an eye. while he stated certain, Stevens held out his hand. “I wish it. ” “You shall now not have it, sir. ” Washington spoke back. Stevens demanded the entire profit the home. “I am going to talk to you very plainly,” the colonel acknowledged. “You advised me your function was once philanthropic. you probably did no longer point out it used to be theft and rascality. ” Colonel Washington was once encountering one of many clauses in John Brown’s constitution—all the valuables of slave proprietors should be appropriated for the reason. Intimidated through the colonel’s defiance, Stevens contented himself with escorting the colonel, white associates, and ten in their male slaves again to the arsenal. John Brown gleefully strapped on George Washington’s sword, it sounds as if considering it gave him an air of secrecy of best command. 7 • • • The shriek of a teach whistle interrupted Brown’s playacting. A Baltimore & Ohio show from Wheeling, Virginia, was once coming near near the bridge. Halted through an impromptu barricade, the engineer and conductor came upon an agitated guy named Higgins status beside the tracks, blood trickling from a wound in his scalp. He used to be the bridge’s reduction evening watchman. while Oliver Brown and his accomplice at the bridge, a black named Dangerfield Newby, attempted to grab him, Higgins had slugged Brown and run for it. He bought away with a bullet nick in his scalp. The disbelieving trainmen walked towards the bridge and have been pushed off by way of numerous pictures. They subsidized the educate out of diversity and made up our minds to anticipate advancements. in the meantime, Shepherd Hayward, a unfastened black who labored as a station porter, walked out at the bridge to determine what used to be incorrect with the educate.

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