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John Brown in Kansas

John Brown, a devote Bible-quoting Calvinist who believed he had a personal duty to overthrow slavery, announced that the time had come "to fight fire with fire" and "strike terror in the hearts of proslavery men. The next day, in reprisal for the "sack of Lawrence" and the assault on Sumner, Brown and six companions dragged five proslavery men and boys from their beds at Pottawatomie Creek, split open their skulls with a sword and cut off their hands.

A war of revenge erupted in Kansas. Columns of proslavery Southerners ransacked free farms and took "horses and cattle and everything else they can lay hold of" while they searched for Brown and the other "Pottawatomie killers." Armed bands looted enemy stores and farms. At Osawatomie, proslavery forces attacked John Brown's headquarters, leaving a dozen men dead. John Brown's men killed four Missourians, and proslavery forces retaliated by blockading the free towns of Topeka and Lawrence. Before it was over, guerilla warfare in eastern Kansas left 200 dead.

Read more about "Bleeding Kansas" and "Bleeding Sumner" in our Online Textbook
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