The American Journey © 2007

Chapter 15: Road to Civil War

Web Lesson Plans

In this chapter students have read about the events that led to the firing of the first shots of the Civil War. One important event was John Brown's raid on the federal arsenal and armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. In this activity students will take a closer look at the people involved in the raid on Harpers Ferry, their goals, and the outcome of the raid.

Lesson Description
Students will visit the National Park Service's Web site about Harpers Ferry. Here they can view pictures of the town, the armory, and the enginehouse. They will read biographical sketches of John Brown and Dangerfield Newby. They will also read primary sources—letters from two Harpers Ferry residents to their children in England. After answering several questions they will write a one-page position paper either condemning or defending John Brown's actions at Harpers Ferry.

Instructional Objectives
  1. The learner will be able to describe the events of October 16-18, 1859.
  2. The learner will be able to identify the leader and purpose of the Harpers Ferry raid.
  3. The learner will be able to determine point of view.
  4. The learner will be able to write a paper defending his or her own point of view.
Student Web Activity Answers
  1. The raid took place on October 16, 17, and 18, 1859.
  2. Brown's goal was to arm an uprising of slaves.
  3. George and Mary Mauzy were residents of Harpers Ferry. They were frightened and did not support John Brown's actions.
  4. Mauzy reports that Brown made no confession or concession that he had acted wrongly, but rather that he felt he was right in everything and had done God's will.
  5. Students' positions may vary.
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