John Brown The Sword and the Word
“I act from a principle,” and “I say, break the law” are not only the names of two out of the five parts in this book, but the words by which John Brown lived so passionately everyday. At earlier times in his life he lived by his sword as well. The Sword and the Word illustrates John Brown’s own ideas and intentions and how he lived by them. A main issue of this book is that truly a man of his word who believed that morals should outweigh the law of the land, John Brown lived and died for the abolition of slavery and did as much if not more for that cause than many other slaves or free men.
You could say this book is a biography but it really focuses on certain aspects and parts of John Brown’s life. It uses a kind of story-telling format, but many of the information and facts of the stories are given to the reader in the form of notes that are to and from many people including John Brown. Stavis’s major thesis is Brown believing “that a man has a perfect right to interfere by force with the slaveholder, in order to rescue the slave,” and that Brown fought for the freedom of the slaves and believed it was better he break inhumane rules and obey and follow God than to obey the law and sin.
He followed his own set of principles and morals. He believed that a man should be honest, God-fearing, and loyal. If a man commits a crime he must be punished. Once he had a man re-arrested for the crime of theft where the man pleaded poverty. The man was thrown in jail but John Brown believed that the man’s family should not suffer for his wrongdoing while he was in jail so John Brown regularly supplied his family with an abundance of provisions.
Not only was John Brown honest and fair, but also he was courteous and generous towards others even outside his well-taken care of family. To prove his points, the author includes several stories of things John Brown did in his life that exemplify his unselfishness. Upon hearing that a family miles away was starving and living in poverty one winter John Brown went to the man with a business offer to help the man because he wouldn’t accept just donations. The offer gave the man food and clothing in exchange for his labor the next summer. When the summer time came around, John Brown didn’t even let the man work for him. This is showing the good nature of John Brown’s personality. The author tries to plant this in the minds of the reader and forces them to recognize John Brown as a sane man who followed the Golden Rule. He believed slavery was a war in which a powerful side was holding captive and punishing a much weaker minority. At one point earlier in his life he wanted to buy a slave to give him or her an education, believing that was the problem and reason for their slavery. He thought that educating the slaves would help stop slavery because their ignorance was being used against them as a weapon in the war and education would give the slaves their...