Bleeding Kansas is the term used to describe the period of violence during the settling of the Kansas territory. 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska Act overturned the Missouri Compromise. John Brown's Raid By early 1858, he had succeeded in enlisting a small “army” of insurrectionists whose mission was to foment rebellion among the slaves. In 1859, Brown and 21 of his followers attacked and occupied the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry. Their goal was to capture supplies and use them to arm a slave rebellion. Brown was captured during the raid and later hanged, but not before becoming an anti-slavery icon.