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Part 3: 1791-1831
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Historical Documents
Portrait of John Brown
1856

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John Brown

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This photograph of John Brown was taken in 1856 while the abolitionist was in Kansas, the same year he led an attack on a settlement along the Pottawatomie River in which five unarmed, proslavery settlers were seized and brutally murdered. Although Brown could have killed as many as nine men in the attack, he settled on five -- the same number of antislavery men who had recently died at the hands of southern settlers. The retaliation, Brown claimed, was to create "a restraining fear" among the aggressive proslavery advocates.

By the end of the year Brown would become the most renowned individual living in "Bleeding Kansas."

Image Credit: Boston Athenaeum




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