Two years before the start of the Civil War, John Brown led an unsuccessful raid on Harpers Ferry in hopes of sparking a general slave revolt. Some abolitionists saw him as a heroic, moral crusader, while others questioned his methods as extreme and fanatical. To determine whether Brown was a "misguided fanatic," students examine a speech by Brown, Frederick Douglass’s account of his efforts to dissuade Brown from the raid, and a letter from an admirer to Brown.
Image: Photograph of John Brown from the 1850s. From the Library of Congress.