Those Responsible for Secession

It is said that the shooting conflict between North and South had begun in Kansas in the mid-1850s, and the movement of John Brown’s violent revolution eastward had dark consequences.  He and others provoked many Southern States into secession from a political union that no longer benefited them — but war to keep those States in that union was commenced by Lincoln.

Bernhard Thuersam,


Those Responsible For Secession

“[John] Brown talked freely, too freely for the benefit of his friends and supporters, who were quickly identified when his papers were found. They were to set the South aflame when they were made public, for they showed clearly that Brown had not been alone in what might otherwise have seemed like a mad scheme to incite slave insurrection single-handed. Noted Northern men had supplied him with money and moral support. Many of them had only a vague idea of what he intended to do, for he was very secretive about his plans.

Southerners learned only that such men as George L. Stearns, Samuel Gridley Howe, Theodore Parker, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, F.S. Sanborn (all from Massachusetts), and Gerrit Smith of New York had actively given aid to a man who had invaded Virginia with fire and sword; then they read in the newspapers that Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson (also from Massachusetts) were openly praising Brown. The prairie fire which had been lighted was to scorch an entire nation, destroying, maiming and killing in the North and South alike.”

(Robert E. Lee, The Man and Soldier, Philip Van Doren Stern, Bonanza Books, 1963, page 114)

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