Driving The South To Secession -- John Brown's Contribution To Disunion

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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John Brown helped expedite the process of creating Civil War by providing justification for the conflict between the North and South. In examining Brown's actions and philosophies I found that much of what he said and did appeared to have been done in order to get a specific rise from both abolitionists and anti-abolitionists. Many of his actions and personal philosophies had the effect of increasing disunion between the North and South.

John Brown's political view gave proslaveryites plenty of reasons to regard him, along with other abolitionists, as adversaries, because of his extremist view. That Brown claimed he had been commissioned by God to lead a slave revolt was a slap in the face to the religious southern lifestyle, calling an important part of it a violation of God's will. Because religion was an important part of the southern lifestyle, this was probably a stab in the hearts of slave-owners.

The fact that Brown was a conductor on the Underground Railroad is another example of unwelcome interference with the southern way of life, that justified secession. John Brown was the founder of a "self-protection league" for free blacks and fugitive slaves, another aspect of his character that would be viewed as a threat by those in the states that later seceded. The failure of northerners to comply with the Fugitive Slave Act was one impetus that led to secession as well.

John Brown was said to be a very persuasive person, claiming the ability to drive pets out of a room with his stare. The fact that anywhere he spent considerable time leading up to the Civil War remained with the Union suggests that he may have had a similarly persuasive effect on those who lived around him.

Although his political views caused an unsettling feeling among southerners, it...