John Brown, Jeremiad, and Jihad: Reflections on Religion, Violence, and America

John D. Carlson, Jonathan H. Ebel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter narrates the militant abolitionist John Brown's infamous raid and dramatic capture at Harper's Ferry on October 6, 1859. Brown had led a band of twenty-one men, including three of his sons, in a wildly conceived and shoddily executed effort to seize the federal armory in what was then the state of Virginia. However, his plan backfired when local officials and citizens surrounded the arsenal. Before he was hanged, Brown proleptically announced that America's crimes of slavery could be purged only through blood. The story of John Brown and American slavery offers one window into a far ranging and thoroughly ambivalent relationship between religion and violence in the making of America.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFrom Jeremiad to Jihad
Subtitle of host publicationReligion, Violence, and America
EditorsJohn D Carlson, Jonathan H Ebel
PublisherUniversity of California Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9780520227798, 9780520271654
StatePublished - Jun 6 2012


  • John Brown
  • militant abolitionist
  • federal armory
  • Virginia
  • violence
  • American slavery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities

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