John Brown Abolitionists

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Over the history of the United States, there have been many attempts of terrorism on our soil, many through domestic roots. One such political quarrel that marked the radicalization of the American public far enough to bring about terrorism were on the terms of certain legislations, the concept of abolitionism and anti-abolitionism. Legislations like the Missouri Compromise, and Fugitive Slave act were very controversial to the general public, both in the North and South. At this time, many abolitionists chose to perform pacifist demonstrations rather than violent conflict to achieve their dream. Generation of sentiment against slavery culmunated in John Brown was a calculated terrorist as he used extreme forms of violence against the populus…show more content…
Terrorism as stated in the Oxford English Dictionary is “The unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” and calculated is “done with full awareness of the likely consequences.” From this we see that a calculated terrorist is one who made use of violence against civilians, fully understanding the consequences, in order to achieve a political goal. Next we can look into Brown’s motives for his crimes, James N. Gilbert lists 3 points as to what motivates some terrorists “1.Society is sick and cannot be cured by half measures of reform. 2.The state is in itself violent and can be countered and overcome only by violence. 3.The truth of terrorists cause justifies any action that supports it. While some terrorists recognize no moral law, others have their own “higher” morality.” 2(Taking Sides, 232) Brown believed society to have embraced a sickness through the act of slavery. This sickness, he believed, could not be cleansed without bloodshed due to the faults of the state. To rationalize his behavior of the killing of innocent civilians, he created his own morality in which he was working for God alone. Through his writings, Brown tells us he had no doubt in his intentions being for the better, choosing to ignore these lives lost as they didn’t serve to further his cause. Scott John Hammond tell us about John Brown’s calculated nature by comparing him to Machiavellian philosophies, a philosophy associated with the use of power in often ruthless means, “Given the fact that all founders and reformers will inevitably encounter resistance from those enemies … Machiavelli notes that a lawgiver … must go forth armed and prepared for struggle” and “A founder is consonant with the idea of virtue, or grandeur of soul - a character of extraordinary proportions, defined in terms of “ingenuity, skill, and excellence.”
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