Americans were motivated by the spirit of Manifest Destin, and "Oregon Fever" seized thousands of western Americans hard hit by the economic depression, known as the Panic of 1837, which was triggered largely y an over-speculation in federal lands. Independence, Missouri was the starting point of the 2,000 mile Overland Trail, blazed by Jedediah Smith, Jim Bridger, and other mountain men. The route ran along the Missouri and Platte Rivers, across the Great Plains and through the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains. The trains either moved into Oregon or to California. Most Oregon pioneers were young farm families from the middle west, who completed the difficulty journey in five of six months. Most California gold-seekers were young unmarried men who expected the return to their families as wealthy men. Many pioneers died on the trail, 17 per mile, but fewer than 400 were killed by hostile Indians. The Indians tribes frequently developed a flourishing trade with the whites passing through their lands and occasionally served as scouts for the wagons trains. About 5,0 Americans had made the trek to Oregon by the mid-1840s. It was a huge part of westward expansion. He was an abolitionist who believed that he was appointed by God to rid the nation of slavery. His house was a station for the Underground Railroad, and he took part in many violent raids of Kansas, Missouri, and Virginia. When a proslavery constitution was in effect in Kansas, Brown formulated a plan to start a slave rebellion and form a free state for blacks. The heart of the plan involved attacking the federal arsenal of Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He got many volunteers and was financially backed by some Northerners. On a fall night, he led his gang to Harpers Ferry, overpowered the watchmen, and took Lewis Washington as a hostage. He figured it would be soon when the slaves and sympathetic whites arrived at the armory to take weapons and fight, but the slaves never showed up. When Brown's men shot a railroad employee, the townspeople heard and told local militiamen and the U.S. Marines commanded by Robert E Lee. Buchanan then told more artillery to the place. Brown and four of his men were captured. He was charged with murder, conspiracy, and treason, but he refused the insanity plea because he wanted to become a martyr in death. His actions caused more uprising because many Democrats blamed the incidents on the teachings of the Republican Party, who were mainly northerners. The Civil War seemed inevitable.