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Author Post
Wed Mar 10 2010, 03:35PM

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Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 02:46PM
Posts: 4037

John Brown's Raid and North Carolina

The request for arms on the part of Southern States prior to 1860 was the predictable result of abolitionists inciting murderous slave uprisings, and the bloodshed caused by John Brown and his many Northern conspirators. Had reasonable and peaceful solutions to African slavery been advanced by the slave-trading North instead, war might have been avoided. North Carolinians were very reluctant to leave the Union of their Fathers, but Lincoln’s policy of war drove the State to form a more perfect union in the South.

Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute

John Brown’s Raid and North Carolina:

“Scarcely had he [President James Buchanan] returned to Washington when John Brown made his raid on Harper’s Ferry. The story of the reaction of the North and the South toward Brown’s raid and his subsequent execution is too familiar to need repetition. The raid itself frightened the South, since no man could tell how far Brown’s conspiracy extended; but the South had no doubt of its ability to handle that phase of the problem.

What most alarmed and horrified the Southern people was the expression of Northern sentiment toward the criminal; and the extent to which the anti-slavery fanaticism might go was borne in upon Southerners by Emerson’s exclamation that Brown “has made the gallows as glorious as the cross.”

North Carolina, of course, fully shared the sentiments of her sister Southern States. There was a general demand for military preparations; new military companies were organized; and Governor Ellis requested the War Department to send and additional supply of arms to the Federal arsenal at Fayetteville. The political effects were equally as great. The [Raleigh] Standard declared that unless the South could be assured of protection in the Union it would have to “sunder the bonds,” and the Register echoed the sentiment. In December the Council of State resolved that, “If we cannot…enjoy repose and tranquility in the Union, we will be constrained, in justice to ourselves and our posterity, to establish new forms….[of union].”

(North Carolina, Rebuilding an Ancient Commonwealth, Vol. II, R.D.W. Conner, American Historical Society, 1929, pp. 124-125)

(Used with Permission)
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