A Terrible Triumph: John Brown’s Last Stand
In 1859, John Brown and his small band of followers carried out a raid in Virginia. The overall plan was to start a massive slave revolt across the American South. Although this bold insurrection failed, its daring leader managed to capture the attention of the entire United States. Even in defeat John Brown was successful. America could no longer ignore the growing division in the nation between slave state and free state supporters. Less than two years after the raid on Harpers Ferry, the American Civil War began. While the election of 1860 has often been cited as the beginning of the conflict, it was the infamous raid on Harpers Ferry that truly began the rapid escalation toward civil war for America. This is the story of John Brown’s last stand at Harpers Ferry.