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John Brown As The Villian Or Hero

2881 words - 12 pages

John Brown as the Villian or Hero

Brown's attack on Harper's Ferry affected American culture more than can ever be understood. Tension between the North and South was building in the 1850's. Slavery among many other things was dividing the country into two sections. Brown was executed on December 2, 1859 for his murderous out-lash on society. Was his mind so twisted and demented that he would commit cold-blooded murder? The answer is no. John Brown was a man with a goal and a purpose. When he said that abolition could not be achieved without blood he was right. It is one of histories great ironies; John Brown's struggle preceded the Civil War by only 17 months. Thousands of people were killed in the Civil War, yet John Brown is still looked on as a criminal. He was not a criminal but a hero, fighting for what was right. He was a man ahead of his time.
John Brown was born on May 9, 1800 in the town of Torrington Connecticut. When he was five his family moved to Ohio and in 1834 they moved to Pennsylvania. John Brown was no stranger to slavery. His father ran a station in the Underground Railroad. He was taught to respect the slaves they harbored as equals and as good people. Brown learned to respect people different than him. In Pennsylvania, Brown worked with other slave sympathizers to educate the African-American community. He was even able to accept and learn from the Native American's that lived in the area of his home. Slavery was considered inhumane and cruel to Brown and his family.
As John Brown grew and became a man he became more and more active in the fight for abolitionism. Like his father he devoted his life to gathering money for slaves and housing those that escaped. Brown began to read the bible day and night, each day becoming more and more secure with his beliefs. "He had found quotation after quotation to support his conviction that God had destined his righteous servant for great things." (Stutler 6) With every day his views and ideas about slavery became more and more radical. Brown wanted to do anything he had to in order to abolish slavery.
Brown had a great faith in God. Success had eluded him up to this point. He had sired 20 children and had gone through two wives, but he still felt unfulfilled. In 1846, Brown was working as a wool merchant but nothing ever came of it. Before 1855, Brown had gone through a series of lawsuits and bankruptcies that halted his success. Gerrit Smith, a philanthropist friend of Brown's, was persuaded into giving a portion of the 120,000 acres of land he owned in upstate New York to Brown. This land would be open to refugee negroes. Brown lived on this land as a farmer for some time before realizing that people were just taking advantage of him.
In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Law was passed. This law plainly stated that citizens were required to help slave catchers if inquired upon to do so. This law would make it immensely difficult for slaves...

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