Get free help preparing your taxes from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location


Military and Veterans Discount



AARP Games - Play Now!

Contests and

Rewards for Good Sweepstakes

Learn about Rewards for Good and you could win $25,000! See official rules.

AARP Auto Buying Program



Prime Time Radio

Midnight Rising

The bloody raid which propelled the civil war

An interview with Tony Horwitz, author of Midnight Rising, a book about the Civil War, John Brown and the roots of domestic terrorism.

John Brown played a major role in the Civil War, leading the fight against slavery. — Art by Chris Wormell/MENDOLA

In his new book, Midnight Rising, award-winning journalist Tony Horwitz takes us deep inside the mind of the controversial abolitionist John Brown. Brown was prepared to fight to his death to start a revolution that would end slavery.

See also: 50 ways the Civil War changed American life.

Although he had already planned and executed several successful skirmishes across the country, Brown believed an already polarized America needed a shocking event that would start a civil liberation movement. One skirmish in Kansas, known as the Pottawatomie Massacre, caught the attention of other abolitionists who secretly started to supply Brown with weapons and money to continue his campaign.

In 1859, Brown had planned a raid on the Armory at Harpers Ferry in Virginia, which if successful, would have allowed him to arm many slaves. Secretly planned and executed at night; John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry ruptured the union between North and South.

Back to Article

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Members save on first-year membership fees to  AARP® Roadside Assistance from Allstate.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can earn 3% cash back on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points