A Slice of Life View: Lincoln, Brown and Douglass

DATELINE: March 12, 1859

Location: Vicksburg, Mississippi

Item: The Southern Commercial Convention met in Vicksburg. Southern slave owners appealed for the reopening of the African slave trade-which had been banned since 1808.



DATELINE: March 12, 1859

Location: Detroit, Michigan

Item: John Brown and Frederick Douglass meet.


At the Detroit home of William Webb, John Brown and Frederick Douglass met with Detroit’s black community to discuss ways of ending slavery (there is a historical marker at the location of where the house was). Douglass did not believe in violence as a means to end slavery. He did not believe in arming slaves for the purpose of rising up against their masters. Brown sanctioned both ideas. He believed in ending slavery by whatever means necessary. He thought a peaceful end to slavery an impossibility. At the meeting, which was located near 633 East Congress, Brown shared his plan for a raid on Harper’s Ferry. Brown could not and did not endorse the plan. Brown and Douglass would meet again in late 1859. Brown once again would try and convince Douglass for his support- but to no avail.  The saga of “John Brown’s raid” was cast. That day would come October 16, 1859.


DATELINE: March 12, 1859

Location: Springfield, Illinois

Item: Abraham Lincoln took care of some personal business on this Saturday. He made a payment in full to one C.M. Smith. He also made a deposit into his bank account in the sum of $40.00.

However, Lincoln was active in the fight against slavery also. On March 1, 1859, Lincoln addressed Republicans on the difference between them and the Democrats. Republicans believe slavery is “wrong” while Douglas (the Senator) considers it “simply a question of dollars and cents.” Republicans are on a “ground of unquestionable right…Stand by your principles.”


Lincoln as president of the United States would meet Frederick Douglass three times. He referred to Douglass as his “friend.’


Lincoln never met John Brown.


B. Nash with Frederick Douglass & Sojourner Truth

B. Nash with Frederick Douglass & Sojourner Truth



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