Charlestown, Va, 2nd, December, 1859
I John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty, land: will never be purged away; but with Blood. I had as I now think: vainly flattered myself that withought very much bloodshed; it might be done.
John Brown's last prophecy, written on day he hanged.
John Brown was a murderer. He was no different than a terrorist: he killed innocent people in the name of a cause he believed in. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge advocate of standing up for what one believes in; but violence and murder are never the answer, let alone “morally justifiable.” I feel that the only appropriate excuse for killing another human being is in the name of self-defense. Murder is only “morally justifiable” if the person would have killed you or someone you loved, and killing him or her would be the only way to save yourself or your loved one. What does killing in the name of a cause prove? Only that you are selfish and unsympathetic towards the rest of the human race. I am against capital punishment because I believe that no crime is worth killing another human being. I am against war, rioting, and terrorism because I believe that no cause is worth killing another human being. The same goes for John Brown.
Hitler killed over six million human beings in the name of a cause he strongly believed in, yet we don’t call him a “martyr.” Why does John Brown then deserve this title? There are SO MANY peaceful options for standing up for what one believes in; peaceful options that will get the point across better than a killing rampage. People often become terrorists in the name of preventing terrorism. Sure, slavery was wrong; but the Underground Railroad helped slaves so much more than John Brown ever did. I believe that cruelty to animals is wrong; but that doesn’t justify being cruel to humans. In an attempt to stop Islamic terrorism, George W. Bush has become a terrorist himself, by suspending civil rights, starting pointless wars, and blindly thinking that all Muslims are terrorists, and that all terrorists are Muslim. War cannot put an end to war; only peace can do that. Take a page from Ghandi’s book, and learn to stand up for what you believe in through peaceful means.
On this note, naming a school after such a murderer as John Brown is a disgrace. You might as well name it “Terrorist High School.” Of course, then our President would probably arrest every student and faculty member in the school for no reason. But hey, if you can’t beat the terrorists, join ‘em. Right?
“Murderer” or “martyr”? “Terrorist” or “Freedom Fighter”? In John Brown’s case, the title that would label him as a “freedom fighter” or a “terrorist” depends solely on the views of the people. But one fact remains: he still killed innocents who had differing opinions than him.
Take the Middle East’s most infamous rogue: Osama Bin Laden. We, the citizens of the United States, see him as a “Most Wanted” terrorist and see him a high priority to uproot. But what do the citizens in that country think about him? Those news reports that show reporters scouring the towns of the Middle East clearly show that these people are in full support of this “prophet”. The same thing applies to John Brown. The people of the north saw him as the future savior of the slaves and full supported his ideals while the people of the south, although they despised him, had a sliver of respect for him also.
Some might be content with this observation that it “lies within the eye of the beholder” but I think otherwise. In this case, I see Brown as a terrorist. You could say that he’s a “freedom fighter” because he tried to raise a slave uprising to free the slaves but then again, weren’t all the other abolitionists moving towards that goal? Take Fredrik Douglass, or Harriet Beecher Stowe, or even Harriet Tubman. They all had their methods of trying to get slavery abolished and although they did not kill anyone, they still had the same effect that Brown had. We can tell because after Brown’s case, slavery was still not abolished. Like everyone else’s efforts, Brown just got the South thinking-he probably got them to think a little more than Douglass autobiography.
Had Brown become a politician or a writer and discussed about slavery and its abolishment instead of hacking people into oblivion, he might have helped prolong the Civil War and keep those he killed alive. Brown might have been sent on a God-given mission but isn’t it a sin to kill another? At least it says so in all religious "stone-recorded" rules. So does that mean that G-d is a hypocrite?
“The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” My mom recently said this to me and got me thinking: did John Brown have the right intent but wrong actions? He was an abolitionist- good choice, he was against slave owners- good choice, he killed innocent people- bad choice. It seems to me that John Brown jumped the gun a little bit. If he had devoted his time and energy into something more productive maybe he would have led a monumental movement against slavery. John Brown had the idea, just not the action.
Instead of his 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry, maybe he should have found a way to hit the slave owners more effectively. I’m not throwing out ideas here, just maybe he could have taken an alternative route. It is important to realize he certainly was not a murderer. He didn’t kill people simply for the reason to kill. At least he could justify the killings. At the same time, he was not a martyr- only an overzealous abolitionist who got carried away.
I see John Brown as a man with good intentions. It is unfortunate that he did not take his ideas and do good with them, maybe we would have seen a much quicker end to slavery. It is clear he wanted change but maybe he shouldn’t have been so reckless.
John Brown is a murderer. He claimed to be fighting in the name of God, yet fighting in the name of God remains to this day, a complete oxymoron. Are his actions any different than the suicide bombers in the Middle East? He seems to be a complete sociopath capable of cold-blooded murder and sneaky, cockroach-like tactics. What man in his right mind creeps up on innocent households—the first of which isn’t even a slaveholding family—and murders them in the dead of night.
To compare John Brown to George Washington is to compare Osama bin Laden to Gandhi. One is a rash murderer, the other a cool, calm and collected peacekeeper. Although Washington was a general in the Revolutionary war, he did not ambush innocent households in the middle of the night slaughtering the innocent. Washington is a hero, a person to be idolized for not only his courage, but also for his ability to restrain from fighting. He sought no unnecessary battles, he never looked to instigate pain. Where was John Brown’s restraint? Where was his ethical reasoning?
In life, there are two types of people: the people you wish to imitate out of admiration, and the people that can be used as an example of what not to do. John Brown is the latter. Some argue that he is, in fact, a martyr. And to some extent this is true. He died for a cause he believed in, and he died valiantly—not once quivering before his impending demise. Although a complete failure in life, he death was at least a success in that aspect. He is to be admired, and everyone can learn from him that they must live up to their mistakes, or—in his perverted and twisted mind—their good deeds.
Yet, all in all, I believe him to be a murderer. What kind of sane person just decides to take over a weapons arsenal and go on murdering people in small vigilante groups? Perhaps nothing gets done when politicians talk, but I fail to see the good in John Brown’s actions. One may argue he finally brought the Civil War to a head, yet in a counter argument, the amount of innocent blood he spilled was increased a hundred thousand fold.
I believe that war is necessary at times, and I believe there was no alternative to the Civil War. But John Brown’s actions were inexcusable. He was, and remains a mad man, and should be viewed to be as crazy as the militant religious leaders in Iraq.
John Brown is a flat out murderer! If you go out and kill another person just because of their beliefs that makes you a murderer; does it not? How can John Brown be called a martyr when he hacked a couple of innocent people to shreds. His cause was unjust; he claimed that it was God’s Will and that he acted in the favor of the North but truly he was a crazy man who was insane. To say that he is a terrorist seems to be a little extreme just because Americans have this media image of what a terrorist is; AK-47, bushy beard, turban wearing, and bomb caring person. John Brown was an insane militiaman that believed he was right and was willing to murderer innocent men because of slavery.
First off John Brown by killing five men in Kansas he becomes just as bad or if not worse then most Southerners. Most Southerners didn’t own more then five slaves and when they owned slave they were usually accepted into the family. Although most slaves were not free, they were not that bad of either. Furthermore John Brown was just a flat out deranged lunatic; his plan to take the South over with a slave army was just not a smart idea. John Brown thought foolishly that he thousands of slaves would flock to him but in all the havoc he shot an escaped slave. So what side was John the lunatic not the Baptist, on? Was he for shooting slaves or helping them? The world may never know.
John Brown fought for the freedom of slaves because it was God’s Will according to him but doesn’t one of the ten commandments say that thou shall not kill. John Brown can be compared to the crusaders who believed that it was God’s Will to kill the Saracens but Jon Brown believed that it was his task to free the slaves. Even though having slaves is immorally wrong it is not right to murderer innocent people for their simple belief in the southern lifestyle.
As for naming a High school after him would just be ridiculous. If you named a High school after John Brown why not name a high school after Charlie Manson or another infamous murderer? The mascot could be an insane northern man with a rifle in one hand and a bloody state of Kansas in the other with the bible at his feet. They could be the Oxnard Northern psycho lunatics. I can just see it now the Oxnard Northern psycho lunatics are now second in the county right behind Foothill.
Not a martyr.
John Brown is a murderer.
Some consider John Brown a hero and others consider him a lunatic. While people have their certain opinions about this interesting individual, I am one out of the many people who branded him as a murderer. To call John Brown a martyr is controversial. The definition of martyr is different for everyone. I remember in seventh grade I read a book called “She Said Yes”. On April 20, 1999, Cassie Bernall, a junior at Columbine High School, had a gun pointed at her head when asked if she believed in God. She figured that if she were to say no, she would have had a better chance at surviving this horrifying ordeal. But after all that she went through in the earlier stages before this incident, she had the courage to say yes. Obviously after her response she was shot and killed instantly because she said yes. Since that day, others who managed to survive that shooting rampage recall seeing her on that day in library and witnessed her few moments before death. Some of her peers recall the look in her eyes and the sound of her voice being so determined, bold, and sure. I consider her to be a martyr because she was an innocent individual who stood for her beliefs. She could have said no and might have had a better chance of survival, but she didn’t. In my opinion, this is a true martyr.
One cannot be sure to label John Brown a martyr. This is so opinionated and not factual. But I believe that for sure he is a murderer. In my opinion, this is a fact. When someone kills another person regardless of the circumstances, they are considered a murder. Did John Brown kill people? Yes, there is evidence pointed at the incidents known as “Bloody Kansas” and Harper’s Ferry. Why did he slice those innocent men in the “Bloody Kansas” ordeal? What were his motives behind this action? No one is entirely sure. Yes, his victims had different opinions than he did, but why did he choose those specific people. As Mr. Geib pointed out in class, not all of these men were supporters of slaveholding. If John Brown really wanted to “make a difference” he could have planned out his course of action in a more strategic manner. If he really wanted to make an impact to “please God” he could have been more organized. But because he chose to kill random people, I think that he is like the others who kill people because they can but not because they should. I mean what did he accomplish in killing those that he did? He killed a few men so now the world is a better place? Or after killing some men he is closer to exterminating all of those who are “unjust” and “wrong”? Martyr? I think not. Murderer? Indeed.
But hey, who am I to speak? Maybe because I despise Ronald McDonald, I should go to McDonalds. Once I step inside McDonalds, then I can kill everyone inside the building. Would I be considered a hero? A martyr? Come on, by doing this I’m one step closer to solving the obesity epidemic. Right? As for the people I kill, it is their fault. They all work for the deranged clown who poisons the minds and bodies of innocent children. Then when I testify in court, I will say that God told me to do it. I’m sure they will understand that I was trying to make our world a better place. And as for the people I kill, it is their fault that they were in my way. I wonder how many students in future AP classes would consider me as a murderer and as a martyr…
I could be wrong about John Brown. It is very possible. Maybe he really is a martyr who was only trying to replenish the tree of liberty with the blood of slaveholding tyrants. With there being two sides to every story, there is no right answer.
Contrary to what Niccolo Machiavelli believed, the ends don’t always justify the means. I’m sure I could elaborate with a very unlikely scenario which would be expressed in such a manner as to make my side of the argument look unquestionably rational and correct while making the other side appear misguided and uninformed, but I think there’s going to be enough people doing that anyway, so I’ll try to move past this simple cliché.
John Brown’s biggest mistake was to assume that slaveholder’s and supporters of slavery were evil. Granted, the institution of slavery is evil, but merely owning slaves does not make one evil (during that time period at least). If you grew up in the slave culture of the South, there would be no reason for you to believe that slavery wasn’t normal. Rarely would you be exposed to people and arguments against slavery. It’s kind of like all the talk today about weaning ourselves from foreign oil, but all efforts to do so are halfhearted at best because people have no concrete reason to change the lifestyles they have grown accustomed to. Anyways, people say Brown is a hero because he stood up for his beliefs and fought the evils of slavery. This could not be farther from the truth. Though he imagined himself to be fighting slavery, he was really only massacring innocents he wrongly labeled as evil.
Similarly, I cannot see him as a hero is because his actions did nothing to directly better the country in any way, shape, or form. How does hacking to death five people who think that slavery might not be such a bad idea help to bring about the end of slavery? Or shooting at townspeople who happen to live next door to an armory?
I think that one of the greatest symbols that Brown is not a hero is that his legacy remains highly contentious today, even after his own side eventually won and we decided that slavery was indeed wrong. Of course Brown is a martyr in the literal sense of the word, but when the cause he died for continues to denounce him, then people should probably start asking why.
However, as for the issue of the creation of a so-called John Brown High School, I personally don’t think that it is a problem. We already have hundreds of schools named after less than reputable figures, the most apotheosized being Christopher Columbus, who was involved in one of the most gruesome instances of genocide in history. Under his supervision, the native population of Haiti declined from 8 to 3 million inhabitants in only four years. The reason why Columbus is allowed to remain as the object of hero-worship is because he did contribute to America by setting off an era of exploration. The same is true for John Brown: though he be a murderer and a terrorist, and though his individual actions did little to benefit the country, his legacy led to an increase in abolitionism and indirectly helped lead to the Civil War, which was the ultimate decider of the slavery issue. His legacy does not justify hero status, but as long as Columbus is a hero, it’s not a big deal if a school is named after John Brown. Plus, there are always worse people they could name the school after...
Carnage acts of manslaughter against the common man has been, since the World Trade Center Bombings, the face of terrorism that has haunted the dreams of pilots and everyday workers since the 11th of September. Among these faces of terror reign those worthy of such titles, such as Osama bin Laden and his radical followers and those dedicated to achieve their desires through fear and incongruous acts of violence. President George W. Bush has made it the United States primary objective to ending the terror in the Middle East and has, since the attack upon American soil, a “crusade” to end the supremacy of these radicals. Yet, although our country wages a war upon these men, women and, in some cases, children who wish to spread/ strengthen their beliefs, it is somewhat ironic that our history was influenced by a man whose actions, eerily similar to those taken upon by America’s enemy, deemed him worthy of the title of terrorist by the minority and “freedom fighter” by the scores. John Brown, an American terrorist.
Although his causes were ideal and divine in nature, for what other cause than the freedom of those shackled under the whips of American slaveholders is more valid? this mans actions complemented those of violence. Murdering those in favor of slavery that had taken abode in “Bloody Kansas,” Brown slowly and painstakingly hacked these people to bits with sharpened metal. Later in his career, after bestowing Southern plantation owners and slave master with fear of death planned an uprising against the American dictators. Invading Harpers Fairy as means of sparking a slave uprising and then the destruction of the South, Brown failed in his actions and was tried and convicted to death. Freedom loving in nature and confident in the American ideals of freedom of speech and the like, John Brown could not harbor, sanction nor accept the tremendous acts of injustice forced down upon his fellow African Americans. Although slavery, now accepted as an evil to life, liberty and the happiness, IS A BARBARIOUS ACT upon the human spirit, many still condoned these actions; their right, although not necessarily a humane decision, as Americans. Was death sanctioned and justifiable for these people?
Acting as many 21st Century terrorists would today, John Brown used violence as a means to pursue his plans. As many terrorists do today, John Brown executed those standing against his cause and tried to excoriate those who thought opposite of himself. Was Brown’s raid more holy than the bombing of Iraqi schoolhouses and people? Why is his cause much more sanctioned than our common enemy? Although fighting for his cause and sacrificing his own life to extend his reign over the hearts of Americans, John Brown was a murderer, a terrorist and a hero.
The Civil War was begun, in due part, thanks to Brown’s assaults. The end of slavery occurred thanks to Brown and his men. The American way of life that we all know too well and love with our hearts content is because of the terrorist John Brown. C’mon people! It’s ridiculous that we have to choose Brown as a murder OR a martyr. It is UNFAIR and an injustice to freedom fighters and yes, terrorists, to distinctly mark him as one or the other. JOHN BROWN WAS BOTH. Yes he murdered many. Yes he started the destruction of slavery, a fallacy towards mankind in its entirety. Yes he led a rebel faction against the corporate fat cats and their fancy cotton filled mansions. Yes he led guerrilla warfare against those opposite his mindset. Yes he was a hero. Yes he was a villain. Contradicting though THEY SEEM, these words are all true. Hero, villain; terrorist, peacemaker; murderer, martyr; they are the same.
I think the high school should be called John Brown High School and their mascot should be the man himself shaking hands with Jesus; they’re both for freedom and at some point they both died for their cause.
When I hear the name John Brown, what is the first thing I think? His parents were very uncreative in naming their child. But, that of course does not answer the prompt. Words that I next associate with John Brown are very much negative. Radical, terrorist, impulsive, illogical, self-righteous, tactless, foolhardy, grammatically incorrect (in which case I shall apologize in advance for accordingly hypocritical acts), and of course, Murderer.
I don’t believe that it is acceptable to take the life of another human being just because one passionately feels a cause. Passion is something that I have known to blind people when not coupled with reason. John Brown had his supporters but it has been shown throughout time that whole groups of people can be adamantly supportive of not-so-honorable causes (to say the very least.) Take the Nazis for instance. (Clichéd I know, but oh-so versatile!) It goes without saying that their cause was a passionate and evil one. John Brown on the other hand had quite the noble cause. However, his means of acquiring his ends devalued any of his efforts. As a favorite quote states: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
His good intentions were further degraded with his brash approach to “solving” the problem and not merely their moral inappropriateness. He lacked the slightest bit of reason. His plans' main results were failing brilliantly and leading to his execution (the only part of his doings worthy of merit BUT also out of his hands). Also, he relied wholly on prejudices and ended up murdering fellow abolitionists during the Kansas raid. This proves that he was mostly interested in the superficial traits of his targets. He seems to have been more disgusted with the culture of the southerner rather than the crime of the slave owner. Otherwise, he would have deeply researched his intended victims. He wouldn’t have allowed for mistakes. It would have followed that he’d be deeply apologetic for his ghastly folly. Instead, he demonstrated a selfish stubbornness and self-righteousness that is no difficult trait to find. But hey, at least he was very stereotypically American in this sense; after all it is uncharacteristically American to admit one is wrong. If that is all we Americans really are, by all means should a high school be named after him.