Class Notes

One of the most intriguing figures in history is John Brown. Growing up Virginia and being fascinated by the Civil War, I was always taught that Brown was the villain. At times I was told his cause was right, but he was a madman. I believe his status has changed, at least in my eyes, as I got older and understood the War more. I think the most telling aspect of Brown is a line from his final speech,


“I have another objection; and that is, it is unjust that I should suffer such a penalty. Had I interfered in the manner which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved– had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends — either father, mother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class — and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right; and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment… I believe that to have interfered as I have done — as I have always freely admitted I have done — in behalf of His despised poor, was not wrong, but right. Now if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments. — I submit; so let it be done!”


I now see John Brown as a man willing to give his life for something he believed in and that puts him on the right side.

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