A great READING resource with QUESTIONS and ANSWER KEY included! It focuses on the topic of John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry.
Included are 1 page reading, 1 page question sheet and 1 page answer key! Perfect for homework assignments, classwork or reading for test review! Can be used for both middle and high school level.
The reading first provides a background overview about John Brown, and his prior involvement with the Bleeding Kansas crisis. It mentions his earlier Kansas attack on proslavery settlers in 1856 at Pottawatomie Creek in response to popular sovereignty and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This allows students to analyze how Brown’s past influenced his radical abolitionist actions. The next section focuses on the reasons why John Brown led a raid on Harpers Ferry in Virginia. It will break down the reasons from an economic, social and political standpoint. A financial reason was John Brown lacked the funds to support a slave insurrection, and therefore resorted to stealing ammunition from a federal arsenal to arm slaves. On the other hand, John Brown attacked federal property to make a political statement against the government. In terms of social motivation, John Brown was adamant in ending slavery once and for all by stirring a nationwide slave insurrection. Next, the reading explains how John Brown planned his raid. This involves stationing his men at Maryland in Kennedy Farmhouse for training and sneaking across the Potomac River to Harpers Ferry. Students will understand how Brown planned to steal guns from the federal arsenal to equip slaves for an uprising. If Virginia slaves were successful, then other slaves would be motivated to do the same and rebel nationwide. According to John Brown, the raid on Harpers Ferry was a means to finally overthrow the slavery institution.
In the next half of the reading, students will evaluate whether the raid on Harpers Ferry was a success or failure. There is a section that explains the outcome of John Brown’s raid, and how Brown was caught by Robert E. Lee. It goes in depth explaining how Brown and his followers were tried in court and later hanged for treason, murder and a slave insurrection conspiration. Students will then analyze how and why John Brown’s plan on inspiring a slave insurrection failed. This consists of lacking political support and funding from moderate abolitionists. It also emphasizes Brown’s failure to effectively communicate with slaves on starting a rebellion. Most importantly, there is a reading section analyzing the significance of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry. Although he was caught, the South feared it was the beginning of an abolitionist scheme to end slavery completely. This deepened the level of mistrust between the South and North, and ultimately pushed the nation on the verge of a civil war.
Some vocabulary words and key terms included are John Brown, popular sovereignty, Kansas-Nebraska Act, Pottawatomie Creek, Bleeding Kansas, abolitionist, emancipation, Harpers Ferry, federal arsenal, insurrection, Secret Six, Virginia, treason, Maryland, Kennedy Farmhouse, Potomac River, raid, Robert E. Lee, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Republicans and the Civil War.
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