UCSD American History Weekly Discussion


Begin by watching the introductory video regarding John Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry in 1859 and the description of the event at the beginning of the document pack.  Next read the documents in the document pack on John Brown.  Use the comprehension questions at the end of each document as a guide to its contents. (The document pack is located under the forum).

Initial Post

On October 16, 1859, John Brown launched an effort to take over a federal armory in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.  His goal was to arm slaves and start a massive slave uprising.  John Brown’s actions are controversial today.  For this forum you should respond to the overall question: Was John Brown a hero or a madman (or something in between)?

In your initial post you should: 1) explain your overall view of John Brown 2) discuss three arguments in favor of John Brown’s actions from Documents A, C, and E, explaining whether you find them convincing; 3) discuss three arguments opposing John Brown’s actions from Documents B, D, and F, explaining whether you find them convincing.  

Response to Colleagues

You should respond to the posts of two colleagues. (Note: These will become visible only after you have made your initial post). 

In each response to a colleague, you should 1) discuss one point in their argument that you found persuasive – explaining the reason why; 2) discuss one point that your colleague might improve or think about – explaining your reasoning.  

Notes on Sources

You should use only the textbook and the provided documents to respond to the question.  Whenever, you make reference to a document, you should cite it – e.g. (Document A).  If you use words directly from a document, you should use quotation marks.  Please note that it is usually more effective to put the argument of a document in your own words, and if you do include a direct quotation, you should always explain its significance.

The textbook is a free open educational resource (OER). Links to the individual chapters can be found in the Learning Modules. The textbook can be linked here:

OpenStax, U.S. History. OpenStax CNX. Jun 25, 2019 http://cnx.org/contents/a7ba2fb8-8925-4987-b182-5f4429d48daa@9.5