ERIC Number: ED437325
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Reference Count: N/A
Avenging Angel? John Brown, the Harpers Ferry Raid and the "Irrepressible" Conflict. A Unit of Study for Grades 9-12.
Pyne, John; Sesso, Gloria
This unit deals with the struggle between proslavery and antislavery proponents which exacerbated sectional discord and culminated in secession of the southern states and the Civil War. The lessons would most appropriately be taught as a prelude to the Civil War and as a culmination of units on the heightened sectional conflict resulting from passage of the Fugitive Slave Law (1850), the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), "Bleeding Kansas" (1855-56), and the Dred Scott decision (1857). The lessons provide a variety of perspectives on John Brown's Harpers Ferry Raid and the ensuing historical interpretation of his character and purpose. The unit objectives are to: (1) analyze John Brown's motives and beliefs for the decision to invade Harpers Ferry and seize the federal arsenal; (2) explore how John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry exacerbated sectional tensions and contributed to the coming of the Civil War; (3) analyze John Brown's statements following his capture at Harpers Ferry and evaluate their historical accuracy by comparing his account to the historical record; (4) interpret textual, photographic, and graphic images in their historical context; and (5) evaluate how the paintings and illustrations of John Brown have influenced the interpretation of his actions and determine whether they portray him as a martyr or devil. Teaching materials that apply to National Standards for History are provided. (Contains a 14-item annotated bibliography.) (BT)
Descriptors: Civil War (United States), High Schools, Primary Sources, Slavery, Social Studies, Student Educational Objectives, United States History
The National Center for History in the Schools, Department of History, University of California, Los Angeles, 5262 Bunche Hall, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1473; Fax: 310-267-2103; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Teachers
Authoring Institution: National Center for History in the Schools, Los Angeles, CA.
Identifiers - Location: West Virginia