Back to top

John Brown, Pottawatomie Creek Attack (Freehling, 2007)

Scholarship

William W. Freehling, Secessionists Triumphant, 1854-1861, vol. 2 of The Road to Disunion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 79.

"John Brown, the same warrior who would assault Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in 1859, massed six followers, including four of his sons, against slumbering proslavery settlers on the Pottawatomie Creek, some thirty miles south of Lawrence. Brown and his henchman dragged some five men from rude log cabins. They shot their victims, slit them open, and mutilated their corpses. With Brown’s celebration of an eye for an eye, the nation’s problem was not just that proslavery violence spawned antislavery violence. The worse problem was that more Kansas and more Northerners than John Brown, whatever they thought of black slavery, already preferred civil war to slaveholder repressions of white men’s republicanism. Thanks to the aftermath of the Kansas-Nebraska Act that Davy Atchison’s followers had spawned, a continuing Kansas crisis loomed huge on the national horizon."
How to Cite This Page: "John Brown, Pottawatomie Creek Attack (Freehling, 2007)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/14405.