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"The world needed John Brown and John Brown came, and time will do him justice." Frederick Douglass (1886)

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Virginia and Slavery: What John Brown Intended

Allen Gathman, who keeps a blog on the U.S. Civil War sesquicentennial entitled “Seven Score and Ten,” has done us a favor of great interest by resurrecting a New York Times editorial from August 20, 1860,1 written about ten months after the Harper’s Ferry raid.  In this historic piece, the Times editor opines about the unforeseen economic consequences of John Brown’s raid, and how they would have a definitive impact in undermining slavery in Virginia and promoting the triumph of free labor of chattel slavery in the Old Dominion and beyond.  It is a backhanded salute to the Old Man, suggesting that despite the alleged madness of his effort, the impact of the raid had unanticipated consequences that would hasten the decline of slavery in Virginia.  He was wrong to a great extent, but his observations are useful.

[The complete entry is available only in the forthcoming book, John Brown: Emancipator]

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