John Brown

How did the raid on Harper's Ferry contribute to the start of the Civil War? Curated for high school historians, the activity explains John Brown's contribution to the start of the Civil War by using violence to demand an end to slavery. The activity explores John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, and the trail that followed, with group discussion and worksheets. Text excerpts from Robert E. Lee and John Brown's personal address deepen scholars' understanding of the impact of the trial. 

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Instructional Ideas
  • Have pupils write journal entries based on a jury member from the trial of John Brown
  • Pair the resource with a lesson on the causes of Civil War
Classroom Considerations
  • Requires a reading assignment prior to the lesson 
  • The lesson includes documents to give students an opportunity to practice primary source analysis 
  • Provides a rubric to make grading easier 
  • None