John Brown Martyr Essay

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John Brown was a zealous abolitionist who was responsible for the killing of five pro-slavery men at Pottawatomie Creek in 1856. Five years later, he returned after fleeing to Canada and attempted to raid the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Numerous people, especially Southerners, viewed Brown as a cold-blooded terrorist for his violent actions. However, Brown was also defended by those who saw him as an honorable martyr. I am convinced that Brown was both a martyr and terrorist because he terrorized others for political gain, but he died fighting for the abolishment of slavery. Clearly, John Brown easily fits into the category of a terrorist since he is well-known for assaults on proslavery citizens. In general, a terrorist is someone…show more content…
Shortly after the conflict at Harpers Ferry was resolved, “Brown was convicted of treason and murder and was sentenced to hang” (TAJ, 553). His death issued a plethora of different reactions and outrage. For instance, many were relieved that Brown would no longer be able to continue his insane schemes against slavery. Even Northerners criticized Brown for not choosing to oppose slavery in a peaceful manner. Others, like Ralph Waldo Emerson, “...called Brown a martyr-a person who dies for a cause he believes in” (TAJ, 553). There is no doubt that Brown died a fervent and persistent abolitionist. He may have been reckless and very impulsive but he opposed slavery until the very end. Given these points, John Brown was a martyr because he was executed for taking unlawful actions against slavery. In short, John Brown was an abolitionist who faced severe consequences for attempting to solve the issue of slavery through fists and guns instead of words. He intended to terminate slavery and put tremendous effort into doing so, but his actions were aggressive and resulted in the deaths of many, which identifies Brown as a terrorist. Because of his deeds, he was punished and died believing in his cause, which deems him as a martyr. Therefore, Brown was a terrorist and a
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