John Brown's Attitudes Toward Slavery

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John Brown descended from Puritan ancestry, although it is unknown exactly who his ancestors were. Brown himself believed that his first paternal ancestor came to America on the Mayflower and was named Peter Brown. There are several other theories stating that Brown’s ancestors settled in Connecticut or Massachusetts later on. Maternally, there is speculation about when his family migrated to America, but his mother, Ruth Mills, was also of Puritan descent. The Puritan principles that Brown’s family adopted were based upon those of Calvinism, and so he was devout, plain, and stern in his beliefs. This likely influenced Brown’s radical attitude toward slavery later in his life.
Shortly before John Brown’s birth, his father, Owen, saw several events, which affected his opinions on slavery. Up to this time, it is unknown how Owen Brown felt about slavery. Foremost, several ministers expressed their abhorrence toward slavery in sermons that he witness. Brown also witnessed the abolition of
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He learned that the Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed lands north of Mississippi could now legalize slavery – this had been illegal since 1820 – and divided the Kansas Territory into two new states. Kansas would be a Free State and Nebraska a Slave State, so Brown departed for Kansas, determined that it should all become a Free State. Brown gave anti-slavery speeches in Ohio and stockpiled weapons and munitions there before continuing on to Kansas.
Upon his arrival, Brown lived with his half sister and brother-in-law, Florella and Samuel Adair, near the town of Osawatomie, which was raided and burned by pro-slavery forces in May of 1856. Three days later Brown and his fellow abolitionists avenged this by attacking the pro-slavery forces at Pottawatomie Creek. Here, Brown murdered five men at what is now known as the “Pottawatomie

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