Sunday, March 08, 2009

John Brown's Raid 150th Anniversary

2009 marks the 150th anniversary of John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry. Although the American Civil War may have been inevitable, many historians mark this failed attempt at ending slavery in the United States of America as one of the final sparks that lite the American national disaster of 1861-1865.

John Brown's Raid 150th Anniversary is a site that has information on a series of events in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland commemorating the 2009 sesquicentennial anniversary of John Brown's assault on the arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. The site notes, "Four states and four counties have begun preparations to commemorate the 2009 sesquicentennial anniversary of abolitionist John Brown's raid on the arsenal at Harpers Ferry. The John Brown 150th Anniversary Quad-State Committee, comprised of various historians and officials from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland, are planning and coordinating a range of commemoration events. Officials responsible for organizing the commemorations say that events will include re-enactments, dramatic productions, art exhibits, academic lectures, special tours and much more."

I find a bit of irony in this commemoration. John Brown's raid was almost universally condemned in both the North and South. Even opponents of slavery felt that using violence to solve the slavery issue was wrong. Brown's attack if it happened today would almost certainly be labelled as terrorism. However, Brown felt as though the political process was never going to abolish slavery. In his mind, violence was justified to end a greater evil when the normal political process could not. As it happened, he was right in that it took a brutal civil war to finally end American slavery. However, was John Brown right to do what he did? I don't have the answer to that.

1 comment:

3rdStoneFromTheSun said...

can't say whether or not John was right as well, but certainly was an interesting moment