of Harpers Ferry Attack for this group
attack was a criminal and murderous attack upon slavery, an
institution sanctioned by law and justified by an idelogy
which regarded slavery as a part of the very nature of things
have died as resolutely as martyrs. If the firmness displayed
by John Brown proves anything, the composure of a Thug, dying
by the cord with which he strangled so many victims, proves
just as much."
attack was symbolic of what could happen multiplied tenfold
under a government committed to a defense of slavery.
(the Federal Government) has already declared war against
you and your institutions...defend yourselves! The enemy is
at your door, wait not to meet him at your hearthstone; meet
him at the doorsill, and drive him from the Temple of Liberty,
or pull down the pillars and involve him in the common ruin."
Robert Toombs speaking in the Senate, January 1859.
attack represented the highest idealism: the willingnesss
to sacrifice one's life and possessions for freedom and welfare
of one's fellow man.
saint, whose fate yet hangs in suspense, but whose martyrdom,
if it shall be perfected, will make the gallows as glorious
as the Cross."
Ralph Waldo Emerson in a lecture on Nov. 8, 1859
attack represented the beginning of emancipation.
will date Virginia emancipation from Harper's Ferry. True,
the slave is still there. So when a tempest uproots a pine
on your hills, it looks green for months...still it is timber,
not a tree. John brown has loosened the roots of the slave
system; it only breathes, - it does not live, - hereafter.
attack was the work of a fanatic.
narrow-minded and possibly insane religious fanatic."
George M. Fredrickson, The Inner Civil War (New York,