The American Journey © 2007

Chapter 15: Road to Civil War

Student Web Activity

"The Coming of the Civil War"

In this chapter you 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 you will take a closer look at some of the people involved in the raid, their goals, and the outcome of the raid.

Destination Title: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

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Start at the Harpers Ferry home page.

  • Click on the InDepth button on the right side of the screen.
  • Read through the description of Harpers Ferry.
  • Click on Notable People.
  • Scroll down and read about "John Brown."
  • Under the "John Brown" information, click on Read excerpts from the Mauzy letters.

After you have read the information answer the following questions.

When did John Brown and his men take over the armory?
What was Brown's purpose in capturing the armory?
Who were the Mauzys? What was their point of view concerning the raid?
According to George Mauzy, how did Brown act before he was executed?
Write a one-page position paper in which you either condemn or defend John Brown's actions at Harpers Ferry. Do you agree or disagree with his actions? Was there a better, less violent way he could have tried to achieve his goals? Share your ideas with the class.
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