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This day in history: John Brown’s raid against the federal armory in Harpers Ferry, Virginia

October 16th, 1859 was the second day of abolitionist John Brown’s raid against the federal armory in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), in an attempt to start an armed slave revolt and destroy the institution of slavery.

Although the raid failed, it inflamed sectional tensions and raised the stakes for the 1860 presidential election. Brown’s raid helped make any further accommodation between North and South nearly impossible and thus became an important impetus of the Civil War.

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