In the years leading up to the War Between the
States, certain men believed that slavery in America could only be
ended with violence and bloodshed, in spite of the fact that it
had already been ended peacefully in every country of Europe.
John Brown was a violent man who had led the Pottawatamie Massacre
of five innocent men in Kansas in 1856. He and his sons had hacked
their five prisoners to death with swords because they did not
agree with his abolitionist views. By 1859, he had convinced
wealthy supporters that the best way to end slavery was by
creating a violent revolt among the slaves in the South. Using
weapons provided by his backers, John Brown and 20 men attacked
the arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia to seize weapons for arming
slaves from nearby plantations.
The raid was a dismal failure. The slaves in nearby plantations
refused to participate, and the first person killed by the raiders
was actually a free black man who tried to stop them. John Brown
and all of his accomplices were arrested by Col. Robert E Lee and
the US marines and hanged for treason, but he had created the
illusion that slavery in America could only be ended with
The Confederate Constitution actually outlawed further importation
of slaves, not the US Constitution which protected slavery. This
wasn't officially changed in the US Constitution until months
after the war by amendment # 13.