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John Brown - Essay Example

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John Brown has been referred as the "Father of Terrorism" in the American history. This title might have been appropriate in that period but in the modern world, he can not be labeled as a terrorist. This essay takes a look at the events that took place in John Brown's life and also the writings of the historians…
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Download file to see previous pages This essay takes a neutral view at the life and deeds of Brown and finds that John Brown was not a terrorist.
If we look back in history we find that this title was given to him because of his revolt against slavery. In that period, slavery was an accepted norm of life and any movement against it was "anti-social". Today when slavery has been wiped out, he can be declared a hero for starting a war against an inhuman practice of slave trade.
John Brown born on 9th May, 1800, became the first American to raise his voice against the practice of slavery. He has been one of the most controversial personalities of the 19th century. Even President Abraham Lincoln said that Brown was a "misguided fanatic".( Blue, 2006) Many other intellectuals also called him as terrorist.
He had started a liberation movement of the black slaves in 1857-58 in Kansas. He collected some young men and gave them military training at Springdale Iowa. In 1958, he took this small army to Chatham in West Canada and on 8th of May, he called a convention where he declared a provisional constitution for the people of United States. If we read the wordings of this constitution, it goes like "slavery is none other than a most barbarous, unprovoked and unjustifiable war of one portion of its citizens upon another portion." Anyone who has not been influenced by the name "Father of Terrorists", can not say that these words are unjustified and anyone believing and promoting these words and thoughts should be executed.
Brown formulated the constitution and also formed a committee. On 10th the committee was finalized and declared adjourned sine die. In July 1859, Brown came to Harper's Ferry under disguise and prepared grounds for his further attack. Finally on 16th October, 1859, he invaded Harper's Ferry with his army of 20 militants. Twelve of these were killed one was captured and executed and one was unaccounted for. Rest four of the them including Brown were turned over to the Sheriff. On 2nd December, 1859, Brown was executed.
Historical Interpretations
Most of the historians have Called John Brown a terrorist. Later some of them have come up with more cordial view. The friendliest biography of Brown is supposed to be the one written by Oswald Garrison Villard in 1910. Villard was himself the grandson of William Lloyd Garrison who was an abolitionist. While explaining John's arrival in Harpers Ferry he says that his intention was to "begin his revolution in a spectacular way, capturing a few slaveholders and release some slaves( Villard, 1910)". He has expressed admiration for Brown in many places but he has also called him a murderer. Some of the African American writers later presented a positive view about him.(DeCaro, 2005). Even in the middle of the 20th century, some Southern writers expressed strongly negative views about him.
In the beginning of the 21st century, there has been a remarkable change in the attitude of the writers. Few of them are Toledo 2002, Decaro, 2002, Peterson 2002, Reynolds 2005 and Carton 2006. There have been some writers in this period also like Bruce Olds 1995, who has written a very negative work on Brown. At the same time Russel Banks has portrayed a fictional work on Brown putting him is the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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