Brown, John

An abolitionist of the nineteenth century who sought to free the slaves by military force. After leading several attacks in Kansas, he planned to start an uprising among the slaves. In 1859, he and a small band of followers took over a federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, in Virginia. A detachment of marines reclaimed the arsenal and captured Brown, who was tried for treason, convicted, and hanged.

Notes for Brown, John

Robert E. Lee, soon to be commanding general of the main Confederate army, led the marines who captured Brown.

Notes for Brown, John

In death, Brown became a martyr for abolitionists. “John Brown's Body,” a popular song in the North during the Civil War, had this refrain: “John Brown's body lies a-mold'ring in the grave; His soul goes marching on.”

Words Nearby Brown, John

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

How to use Brown, John in a sentence

  • His heart rises against those who drink their curaçoa in liqueur glasses, when he himself can swill it in a brown john.

    Virginibus Puerisque | Robert Louis Stevenson