John Brown Hero Or Sinner? Essay, Research Paper
Anthony ServisHistory (H)Period 3/4B6/15/98 John Brown: Hero or Sinner? In the 1800’s many people were fighting over slavery. In fact, the whole country was fighting for whether slaves should be free or not. Some people took it upon themsevles to be vigilanties, and take slavery into there own hands. One such person was John Brown. Brown’s methods of revolting against slavery were highly immoral and extremeally unorthadox. Although his methods were legal or moral, Brown had an impact on slavery during the civil war. Born in 1800, in Torrington, Connetticut, John Brown lived a life of vicissitueds, always changing jobs. “He had 20 or more businesses in six different states. Most of his enterprises ended very badly” (Oates 67). He ran into bankruptcy and was a frequent defeandent in litigation cases. He finally moved to Kansas in early 1800’s. By 1834 he was an ardent sympathizer with the Negroes. “He wanted to rear Negreo youth in his own family and offering guidance to a colony of Negroes” (Pottor 211). In 1855 slavery was an upmost issue in his mind. He soon began to violate the laws of the terrritorial government. In May 1856, Brown persuaded seven men to join his revolt. Four were his sons, one was his son-in-law. These men went heavily armed into the cabin of a settle named James Doyle. They forced there way into the house and ordered him to surrender in the name of the Army of the North. They then took him outside, retrieved his two oldest sons, and shot him in the head, split the skulls of his sons, and hacked the bodies of all three. One hour later they visited the cabin of Allen Wilkinson, a member of the territorial legislature, they then split his head too, and pierced his side (Cole 86). From there they went to house of James Harris, where they took a house guest, William Sherman, but left Harris and another guest. Sherman then also had his head split, his side pierced, and this time they cut off his hand. Brown and his men then rode of on the horses of men they killed. “These killing have been know in history as the Pottawatomie Massacre” (Potter 212).It was never entirly clear why Brown had chosen these particular vicitms, with the execption of a loose general identification with the proslavery party. However, one month before the “massacre” John Brown, who was the capatin of the Pottawatomie Rifles, went into court to demand that the territorial laws would be enforced. When the court ignored these demands, Brown said ,”forcible resistance to any attemp to compel obedience to the territorial authority will be escorted by fifty or more armed men” (Brown). By doing this, Brown and his men were committing treason. Two days after the “Massacre” the attorney general stated that the victims had been killed to “prevent them from testifing to the treasonable conduct of the men who killed them” (Cole 186).
By now Brown’s action had not done anything that might impact slavery. In fact, people did not even take it seriously. “Brown was once tried to lead a Slave revolt, without letting the slaves know about it” (Oates 98). Abraham Lincoln once said, “it was an attempt by which men to get up a revolt amoung slaves, in which slaves refused to participate not a slave insurrection” But that soon changed, because he later lead a army of 22 men against a federal arsenal and the entire state of Virgina. However, “he was did not plan very well, and led his army where two rivers walled him in, closing his chance of escape” (Stevens 345). After three months he marched without taking enough for his soldiers meals. They sufferd from active hunger pains and were forced to stop for 24 hours. They did however cause enough trouble that the south south fought back by adding armies and more generals. This was one of the slight impacts Brown had on the south and the slave rebelion. Many people think the reason for Brown actions were because he was “a man who believed himself to be the agent of Jehovah’s wrath” (Potter 200). Others saw him as a common horse thief. He probably saw himself as a hero of blacks, or a great warrior for his country. Either way, he did affect slavery in the States. Mostly indirrectly, like those who decided to follow his way in a revolt to end slavery, only in a non-viloent manner. Also, people thought of the Civil War more as a fight for slaves, then just a fight to keep the south in the union. In the 1860’s Brown was hung along with his two sons. Maybe the first time a white man had been hung for the rights of black, or at least he thought so. Most say he was doing it for a good cause, but John Brown, no matter how good his intentions, used immoral acts, which is wrong.
Cole, Arthur C. The irrepressible Conflict. The MacMillan Company. New York, New York. 1934. Donald, David. Charles Summer and the Coming of the Civil War. New York publishing Co. 1995. Potter, David M.. The Impending Crisis. Harper & Row Publishers. London. 1976. Stevens, Bill. John Brown. Jacksonville publishing. Jacksonville, Florida. 1982. Anthony ServisOutlineJohn Brown6/5/98I. A. Born 1800 a.conneticut b.emigrant of KansasII. A. Pottanatomie Massacrea. May 21, 1856b. Killed four men brutallyc. Four sons were with him B. Slaverya. Unorthadox style of revoltingb. Killed for freedom III. A. Revolta. lead 22 men against a federal arseanalb. “believed himself to be agent of Jehovah’s wrath”IV. A. Illnessa. Later became mentally illb. Hung in 1963 with one son