Even before the election of 1860, abolition made national headlines with John Brown’s failed raid at Harpers Ferry. Though he hoped to foment a slave rebellion in western Virginia, Brown’s raid ended with his capture and execution. “American emancipations: Abolitionism in the Civil War era” describes how Brown’s death put a spotlight on slaveholders too. While southern masters and their northern allies vilified abolitionists, some Republicans joined abolitionists in using Brown’s memory to focus on slave power outrages. No one could have predicted that this tactic would lead to a civil war, or slavery’s complete destruction, in a just a few years. Abolitionists were ready to exploit events to their advantage.