U.S. History/John Brown


I asked you a question before about John Brown. This is my paragraph about him. I was hoping you could critique me and tell me what you would add, or how you disagree with me.
  My initial reaction to John Brown's final statement was that he wasn't completely wrong in doing what he did. I think his statement addressed many things and caused the North to think of him as a hero, rather than a madman. He stated that he didn't intend to take the men hostage, he simply wanted to free the slaves, which is understandable. Furthermore, I agree with the fact that if he did it for the rich and powerful, he would have been deemed a hero. People would have mourned with him for the loss of his two sons, and they would be loved and remembered as well. However, because he did it for people who were not respected, he received no respect either. It is obviously not right to take hostages and cause those families so much trouble, but because they all were unhurt, I think that it was ok. I don't believe that he would have ever killed the men, because I believe that he wanted the African Americans to rebel and to draw attention to this issue, not genuinely take a federal government base. I think that there was no other choice for him but to draw the federal government into it, because they were trying to stay out of it, and they couldn't for much longer. I also believe that John Brown feels betrayed by everyone as the slaves didn't come forth, and his friends did not either. I think that he was trying to set them straight in his final speech.

I think you are correct that in historical perspective, we generally all agree today that slavery was a terrible injustice and that Brown's outage at that unjust system was justified.  His speech tried to focus on the injustice of slavery and not the violent actions that he took.  I think your point about if he had been doing violence on behalf of the rich and powerful, he would be seen as a hero is a valid one.  After all, soldiers commit acts of violence on our behalf regularly, and we praise them and thank them for their work.  

- Mike  

U.S. History

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]