John Brown was the embodiment of the most radical wing of the abolitionist movement during the pre-civil war period in American history. in 1837, after a mob of pro-slavery vigilantes murdered abolitionist publisher Elijah P. Lovejoy in Alton, Illinois ,and destroyed his printing presses, John Brown responded publically by vowing,
Here, before God, in the presence of these witnesses, from this time, I consecrate my life to the destruction of slavery!
In 1859, hoping to ignite an armed slave rebellion, he and his compatriots attacked the Federal Armory at Harpers’ Ferry. Routed by Marines and apprehended, he was executed in public, by hanging, on 2 December, 1859.
Victor Hugo responded to the news of John Brown’s death with these words ,
Let America know and ponder on this: there is something more frightening than Cain killing Abel, and that is Washington killing Spartacus.