John Brown Birthday (May 9th)

John Brown Birthday (May 9th)

John Brown Biography

John Brown Introduction:

  • While discussing the history of America, it is impossible to overlook the contributions of John Brown. He was:
  • A revolutionary who helped to shape the nation.
  • A controversial political and historical figure.
  • A philanthropist who contributed to the abolishment of black slavery.
  • A key element in the events leading to the Civil War.

John Brown Background Information:

John Brown was born on May 9, 1800 in Torrington, Connecticut.He had seven other siblings. John Brown belonged to a conventional evangelical Calvinist family.His family moved to Hudson, Ohio when John Brown was only five.At 16, he moved to Massachusetts in an attempt to become a Congregation minister but did not make it.He married Dianthe Lusk in 1820 with whom he fathered 7 children.After the death of his first wife, He married Mary Ann Day with whom he fathered 13 children.He dabbled in many vocations including running a tannery, farming, cattle breeding and wool trade before he dedicated his life to the abolishment of slavery.He was charged with treason and hanged on December 2, 1859.

John Brown Historical Impact and Contribution:

  • The raid conducted by John Brown at Harper’s Ferry sparked a violent outburst and eventually led to a war.
  • On October 16, 1859, Brown lead 21 men "army of liberation" on a raid of the federation armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.
  • Brown aim was to arm the slaves with weapons in order to initiate a slave revolt.
  • He death raised debates and protests regarding the moral and ethical issues regarding slavery.
  • It was this mass furor that lead to the Civil War.
  • In 1847, Frederick Douglass and he came together for the very first time in Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • In 1849, Brown stayed with a community of the black peoplein North Elba, New York.
  • He granted 50 landed estate to black family units to authorize and cultivate the dry land.
  • He also decided to demonstrate his own farm to guide the blacks by his illustration and to act as a "kind father to them."


  • The contributions made by John Brown cannot be neglected in demolishing the slavery from the America.
  • The fact that he was a white man fighting for the black slaves, only underlines his nobility and philanthropic concerns.

Historical Perspectives:

  • Due to his aggressive and rebellious approach, John Brown has earned many contradicting titles. Here are a few examples of how eminent historians have described him:
  • “Father of Terrorism”
  • “Misguided Fanatic”
  • “The most controversial of all 19th century Americans”.
  • “Though a white gentleman, [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."
  • "He did not recognize unjust human laws, but resisted them as he was bid . . . .,"
  • "No man in America has ever stood up so persistently and effectively for the dignity of human nature. . . ."