Life and Significance of Abolitionist John Brown

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Yet, the North’s crusade to ND slavery had no banner, no rallying point, or no kindling with which to fuel this burning desire. The North needed someone to rally behind, and John Brown became that person. Eventually, Brown would be martyred, but Brown’s death invoked the abolitionist spirit in all Northerners, and the anticipation of the North to follow behind him illustrates the rapidly, detrimentally changing North-South relationship between 1859 and 1863.

Essentially, between 1859 and 1 863, North-South relations were taking a turn for the worse. Radical abolitionist ideals were sweeping he North, and these Ideals took form through John Brown’s failed effort to provoke a slave rebellion at Harpers Ferry In 1859. This Invasion on a federal armory was organized by Brown. The Invasion Involved only a handful of abolitionists, and freed no slaves. In fact, one free black was among the numerous people murdered during the raid.

This action was condemned by most of the southerners and some of the northerners, but John Brown became a sectional hero to most of the North. Two months after the raid, noted abolitionist writer Horace Greenly wrote an editorial in he New York Tribune (Document A) which stated that although John Brown’s raid was an “unfit mode of combating a great evil”, “his are the errors of a fanatic, not the crimes of a felon. ” Statements such as these gradually influenced the public, and soon enough, Brown was looked upon favorably by much of the northern public.

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Why Were The Two Articles About John Brown Used In The Research Paper Even Though They Have Such Obvious Slants?

An excellent example of this shift of opinions Is Illustrated through a review of James Redraft’s The Public Life of Captain John Brown, as printed In the Atlantic Monthly of March 1860 (Document D), This review states that the “The lessons of manliness, brightness and courage, which his [John Brown’s] life teaches, is to be learned by us, not merely as lovers of liberty, not as opponents of slavery, but as men who need more manliness, more uprightness, more courage and simplicity in our common lives. In this passage, Brown is placed upon a pedestal, and it is the author’s desire to see all Americans imitate his ways. Views such as these paved the way for John Brown’s transition into martyrdom, as seen by northern eyes.

The way in which this transition occurred is brilliantly stated in an editorial contained in the Topeka Tribune of November 19, 1 859 (Document C), when the author states that the elevation of Brown’s Image is sufficiently due to “tacit endorsement by telling what building up a reputation of martyr for Brown and his confederates. John Brown even became an Implement of political sophistry with men, such as Frederick Douglas, exalting their relationship with him (Document FL stating that “to have been calculated Walt Join Brown, snared Nils counsels, enjoyed Nils consonance, Ana sympathized with the great objects of his life and death, I esteem as among the highest privileges of my life.

Even Abraham Lincoln used John Brown as a sophist instrument (Document E), accusing the Democrats of seizing “the unfortunate Harpers Ferry affair to influence other elections pending. Tangentially, John Brown’s transition from felon to martyr is representative of the rapidly changing North-South relations between 1859 and 1863. The fact that a man who had performed such a malicious crime towards the South could become so beloved in northern society illustrates the abhorrence the North held for the South. The action John Brown had taken was one that every abolitionist, frustrated by the South’s obstinacy, had longed to try.

Brown performed what all abolitionists hoped for, yet dared to not even suggest. Brown’s martyrdom shows the critical state of North-South relations between 1859 and 1863, as well as the inevitability of war between the two. Union soldiers proudly marched into battles singing The Old Song (Document G), which contained such verses as “his [John Brown’s] soul is marching on” and “He’s gone to be a soldier in the army of the Lord. Northern artists were inspired by Brown, putting their talents to work and creating paintings depicting Brown meeting slave mother on the way to his execution (Document H).

One artist even went as far as to create a myth that John Brown stopped to kiss a black child on his way to his execution through his painting of such a scene. John Brown became a banner of the Union’s difficulties during the Civil War, and this banner was held high in the hearts of every “boy in blue,” as he fought for the abolishment of slavery, and the salvation of the Union.

Conclusively, the fact that John Brown rapidly became highly regarded in northern society between 1859 and 1863, after committing such a elevation crime against South, picturesquely illustrates the rapidly declining North- South relationship during that same time period. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, as stated in The Last Days of John Brown (Document B), “we [Northerners] made a subtle distinction [in regard to John Brown], forgot human laws, and did homage to an idea.

Yet, this was not the only time northerners would perform such an action during this critical time, for President Abraham Lincoln made a subtle distinction, forgot constitutional laws, and did homage to the idea of union after the ultimate decline of North-South relations to the point of division and physical conflict. The views of John Brown’s raid on of the federal armory at Harpers Ferry illustrates the changing North and South relations between the years of 1859-1863. After the event occurred, many looked down upon it in order to try to prevent the inevitable Civil War.

However, through out the next few years, John Brown was praised throughout the Northern lands as a martyr, while in the the Southern lands he was viewed as a murderer. Horace Freely (a Northerner) freed with Mr.. Brown about he need to abolish slavery, but using violence to solve the slavery issue, he did not agree with: “Of course, we regard Brown’s raid as utterly mistaken and, in it’s direct consequences, pernicious, but his errors of a fanatic, not the crimes of a felon. ” (Doc A) Henry Thoreau agrees with Brown totally and completely (and when I say completely, I mean supporting Brown’s motive and actions).

Thoreau goes on about now relent Brown Is, using examples AT ‘enlarger law’ (l reenactment’s, Document E is different than the previous two because it disagrees with them. Abraham Lincoln is against using violence to stop slavery, so he disagrees with Brown completely. Abe is on the path to the White House, therefore looking for votes. In his Hartford, Con. Campaign speech he calls Democrats ‘bushwhackers’ in the sense that followers of Brown are Just democrats out for votes. Now we get a black mans position on the John Brown raid.

Frederick Douglass is in favor of Browns Failed raid. Douglass being an abolitionist and escaped slave took Thoreau side and supported Brown’s actions completely. (Doc F) The views in these documents illustrate the hanging North-South relations in the way how the North at first disapproved of Browns raid, but in the end, and even more so after Brown was hung in VA, the North put Brown as a martyr and a Moses for black people (as illustrated by Thomas Woven). To some, John Brown was a murderer, but to blacks and in many eyes of Northerners, his death was what made him a hero.

John Brown had a plan to invade the south were he wanted all slaves to revolt but failed he was an abolitionist that Just wanted to solve the problem of slavery. The North and South had a change on their point of view of John Brown’s raid for slavery after the Civil War. Northerners before the Civil War detested John Brown’s idea of an immediate end to slavery that involved violence; as the war progressed people became unified and many Americans changed their views on John Brown. The North wanted to abolish slavery but was opposed to any kind of violence that would help get rid of slavery.

Southerners thought of John Brown as murderer and as the leader of betrayal. As a result of the Civil War the North and the South changed their opinions of John Brown. Before the Civil War the North had a different perspective of John Brown than after the war. The North hated the idea of a violent end to slavery they didn’t like John Brown’s idea of an immediate and to slavery. Horace Greenly from New York Justified the idea of ending slavery but never Justified the way that John Brown tried to abolish slavery(Document A).

Northerners wanted to end slavery but not with a negative cause, ending slavery was their goal but in the best way possible. The North in 1859 wanted to end slavery but what John Brown did was murder to them, then and there. Most northerners supported the cause Brown was fighting for but didn’t support the methods that were used by him. The North before the war believed that John Brown was a murderer because his raid killed many people. Later as the war was in progressed people’s views of Brown were starting to change. AR continued and so did the critics of John Brown.

During the Civil War John Brown was not as criticized about his raid then he was before the war broke out. Criticism was more reasonable now. In 1860 Lincoln disapproved with Brown Because he taught that abolition of slavery shouldn’t be done by the government but he did want slavery to be ended. (Document E). Everyone knew that John Brown was a good an fighting for something that was morally right but what people didn’t understand yet was how he did it and why.

Frederick Douglas mentions that he agrees with John Brown. Frederick Douglas was an abolitionist so he was with Brown all the way. Basically John Brown is seen as a complete hero by abolitionists like Frederick Douglas. People before the war had different opinions about Brown. Disapproval soon faded when ten Call war name. As result AT ten Call war many people change t views about John Brown. When the war was over many people respected John Brown. Now after the Civil War Brown is described as a hero in a song that was sung when going into battle. Document G).

It is now realized that Brown was key to end of slavery. People now are starting to respect what he did and are understanding why he did it. If John Brown wouldn’t have stepped up the Civil War would have been a even more difficult battle. Brown opened the eyes of many people. During this time now about 1861 really understand why John Brown fought so violently. And it was now understood that it was for the best. At the end of the war John Brown was seen as a hero for all he did.

In conclusion, before the Civil War broke out and John Brown led raid to make slaves revolt he was seen as a murderer because he killed people and fought violently for his cause. Although many people did not agree with the way he acted against slavery they had a change in mind later when the Civil War ended. John Brown was finally seen as a hero in the North because they now realized it was the only way to make things work. Why wouldn’t people recognize John Brown as a hero before the war? Wouldn’t they do anything as long as they got it their way? So how bad did they want to abolish slavery?

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Life and Significance of Abolitionist John Brown. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

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