The man on the textbook cover is John Brown. He is a good choice for the textbook cover because he had a profound influence on American freedom and slavery. John Brown took an interest in the abolitionist movement from an early age. Later in life, in the year 1847, Brown even met with and discussed the issues of slavery with Frederick Douglass. This conversation with Douglass impacted Brown to a greater calling. The death of minister and abolitionist, Elijah P. Lovejoy, pressed Brown into the abolitionist movement. Lovejoy was killed by proslavery individuals. This tragedy solidified Brown’s vow to end slavery through any means necessary, including violence. Brown went on to become part of the Underground Railroad, aiding slaves to the north after the Fugitive Slave Act. But Brown believed that words were not as effective as the sword. In 1856, he and his sons killed a group of proslavery advocates in Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas. The phrase “Bleeding Kansas” was coined over the violence between proslavery and antislavery groups. With the help of funds from abolitionists, Brown moved to Maryland. There he recruited individuals to aid him in his mission, his own personal holy war against slavery.
On October 16th, 1859, Brown led eighteen men on an attack of Harpers Ferry armory. Brown’s plan was to take thousands of rifles and give them to the local slaves in order to create revolts against the local plantation owners. His vision was to stop slavery in Virginia one county at a time. Everything was going according to plan for Brown, as they had captured the armory. But then things took a turn for the worse for Brown. He thought that the locals would help him seize the town. However, they pinned Brown and his group in the armory with a barrage of gunfire from farmers and militia. Two days later, Robert E. Lee and his troops arrived and surrounded the armory. Brown and his men put up a fight, killing four and injuring nine. But ultimately Brown lost and was captured, after sustaining multiple wounds himself. In the pending days, Brown was put on trial for treason in Charlestown, Virginia. Brown publicly said that he was ready to die as a martyr for the cause of ending slavery. John Brown was hung for his actions at Harpers Ferry. Brown’s impact was evident in the south. Southerners were concerned that the raid would manifest more slave revolts. The south militarized as a precaution to those very slave revolts. These militias would ultimately spur the south to break away from the north. This of course would then lead to the Civil War. John Brown’s actions were considered heroic to many in the north, but transgressions to those in the south. John Brown had a huge impact on American slavery and freedom, therefore he is a good pick for any history book cover.
Another person who deserves to be on the cover of an American history textbook is Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States of America. The Civil War occurred during Lincoln’s presidency. In the middle of the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation was made as an executive order by Lincoln. The Emancipation Proclamation was not written to free all slaves. It was designed to free slaves in the states not under Union control. Lincoln believed that freeing the slaves would hurt the confederacy. Slaves helped manage Confederates homes and worked behind the scenes with the war effort. This meant more Confederate men could go and fight. The aim of the war changed. It was not just about preserving the Union, it was also a fight against slavery. As a result of the proclamation, foreign countries refused to aid the Confederacy because the countries were morally against slavery. It is unknown how many slaves the Emancipation Proclamation actually freed. The proclamation did, however, pave the way for the 13th Amendment, which officially abolished slavery on December 6th, 1865. All of this was ultimately possible because of Abraham Lincoln.