John Brown’s Rifle

This Sharps rifle, one of two on display in the Smithsonian History Museum in Washington, DC, was carried by John Brown during the fighting in Bleeding Kansas before the Civil War. It has no maker’s marks, but we are told it was carried by Brown in his campaign in 1856. In Kansas Brown perpetrated what would today be called terrorism. He pulled men from their homes in the middle of the night and killed them in cold blood. He wished to arm southern slaves with weapons like this one, and lead them to start a new nation in the south.

Learn more about John Brown and his raids on our DVD series, Causes of the Civil War

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