John Brown was a man who lived in the mid eighteen-hundreds and who fought against the evil of slavery. He had a very strong belief that slavery was unjust, and this is true, but he thought that in order to abolish slavery, violence would be the best method. That’s where he went wrong. John Brown led two attacks on slave owners and those who supported slavery, the first at Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas on May 24th, 1856, and the second at Harper Ferry, Virginia on October 16th, 1859. At Pottawatomie Creek, joined by seven others, Brown brutally hacked to death five men with sabers. These men supported slavery but weren’t even slave owners themselves. On October 16th, 1859, Brown led 21 men on another raid on Harpers Ferry attempting to take possession of the U.S. arsenal and use the weapons in a revolt against slave owners, gathering up an army of slaves as he made his way south. Brown’s attacks were not in self-defense, they were heinous acts of revenge upon slave owners, and therefore his attack had no justification.
Violence inflicted upon other people cannot be justified unless it is in defense of one’s own life or the defense of a group of lives, such as a town where war has been waged upon it. In the case of John Brown, his raids were neither in self defense nor for the preservation of life for a people. Though it is a fact that many slaves were treated harshly and abused, there are many that were treated with kindness and respect, even given an education. The slaves, though oppressed, were not all in danger of losing their lives. John Brown’s use of violence is nothing more than bullying and intimidation, in attempt to persuade slave owners and their supporters to change their views.
Some view John Brown as self-sacrificing, courageous, and heroic because he was willing to die for his cause. Even many pacifists, who believe violence is unjustifiable, overlook his acts of violence because he was willing to die for his stance against slavery. They felt that in the times they were living in, violence could be justified, even though they wouldn’t use violence themselves, since slavery is such an evil thing and it needed to be abolished as soon as possible.
Yes, John Brown was willing to die for his cause however, so are terrorists. Islamic terrorists are also willing to die for their cause, yet no one but the radical Muslims see them as heroes. No matter what times you’re living in or how hard they get, an act of violence that is not in self-defense but rather revenge, can never be justified. John Brown was courageous, but courage alone does not make a hero. Yes, he was courageous in the fact that he spoke out against the evil of slavery which was against the norms of society in his time. The definition of a hero is someone who is courageous, brave and honorable. As pointed out before Brown was courageous and brave but certainly not honorable. There is no honor in brutally murdering people who disagree with your views,...