The John Brown Raid Essay Research Paper

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The John Brown Raid Essay, Research Paper On October 16, 1859 John Brown led a raid on a federal arsenal in Harper s Ferry, Virginia. The results were disastrous for Brown and his self-recruited army of 18 men. The events that followed were to speed our divided nation into a civil war. This event turned a country on each other and made Brown a martyr. In this paper I will break down the newspapers feeling, thoughts and ideas as they apply to Browns raid up through his execution. In my researching the newspapers of the time period, I decided to draw information from two sources of the time to formulate my argument. I choose The New York Times and Harper s Weekly. I found that the New York Times covered the event from the beginning until the end, with the end happing to be

Brown s execution. Both papers gave you an intimate look at Brown, what happen during the raid, trial and described the scene of the execution. In using reporting from the new York times and some supplemental reporting of Harper s Weekly on the raid at Harper s Ferry I will attempt to construct an overview of the events, the attitude towards brown, and the fragile nature of America political landscape. The New York Times did the most comprehensive reporting on the Raid through the execution. Harper s Weekly reports were spread out due to it being a weekly publication. Harper s Weekly did however cover the events extensively when the trial first began. Both periodicals report the beginning of the raid with excited curiosity. The New York Times did maintain a neutral view and only

reported factual information. Harper s Weekly used a more opinionated report, using quotes from people on scene to carry its message on the raid. With the majority of the opinionated reporting coming from people on the scene of the raid reaching the newspapers first it became apparent that this event was going to become a juggernaut for the north and south. Most of their views were that Brown was a mad man and that he and his followers were angels of death for the southern way of life. The southern fear of Brown as a threat to their way of life was for good reason. He had managed to recruit an army and march into to Harper s Ferry unchallenged and cause a national incident. Regardless of the outcome he had put his cause and ideals on the minds of all Americans. He also gained

sympathy from abolitionists and moderate northerners. This made the South look upon him with contempt and realized they had to make an example of him, not only to be used as a deterrent for other abolitionists, but to show the north that Virginia would not waiver on her sovereign duties. I read the initial reporting of the event in Harper s Weekly; I found the papers reporting to be pro south in its view. The look upon Brown as a crazy insurrectionist and feared his intentions. The paper states in the beginning of the article that there was a great confusion about what was going on the night of the raid and the nature of Brown s intentions. It then leads into explain the events that lead to Brown s army s defeat. I found Harper s Weekly difficult to interpret, because it skip

around on the events a great deal. This lead to frustrating reading, I detected its pro south message when the paper condemned Brown for his action. The paper tried to use a pro America theme, but I think it was used in the intention to show the south the north disagreed with Browns actions, the paper had little effect on the population as the trial progressed. When the New York Times begins to report on the trial, it gives exceptional coverage of events. It explains the proceedings on a day by day basis and gives all of the trials proceedings in great detail, it speaks of how Brown conducts himself, and how the attorneys argued. It discusses Browns Health as well as how the judge deliberates over the trial. I think for the communication abilities of the day and how slow