John Brown was the spark that ignited the American Civil War. He was truly the factor that ended discussions and compromises, making his war against slavery the nations war. Having his preference of company being black, he was a radical abolitionist nearly his entire life, therefore creating the problems that grew exponentially into a major national conflict costing millions of lives.
John Brown was born in Torrington, Connecticut on May 9, 1800, the son of a New Englander. He spent much of his youth in Ohio, where he was taught in local schools to resent compulsory education and by his parents to obey the teachings of the Bible and hate slavery. As a boy he herded cattle for Gen. William Hull's army during the war of 1812; later he served as foreman of his family's tannery. In 1820 he married Dianthe Lusk, who bore him 7 children; 5 years later they moved to Pennsylvania and opened a tannery of their own.
Within a year after Dianthe's death in 1831, Brown wed 16-year-old Mary Anne Day, by whom he fathered 13 more children.
During the next 24 years Brown built and sold many tanneries, speculated in land sales, raised sheep, and established a brokerage for woolgrowers. Every venture failed, because he was too much of a visionary, not enough of a businessman. As his financial burdens multiplied, his thinking became increasingly metaphysical and he began to brood over the plight of the weak and oppressed. He frequently sought the company of blacks, for 2 years living in a freedmen's community in North Elba, N.Y. In time he became a militant abolitionist, a "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, and the organizer of a self-protection league for free blacks and fugitive slaves.
By the time he was 50, Brown was entranced...