John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry in October 1859, was one of the most momento


John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry in October 1859, was one of the most momento

John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry in October 1859, was one of the most momentous events in U.S. history. It divided the North and South in a way that no other event in the Antebellum period did, and is regarded by virtually all historians as one of the key events that brought on the Civil War. John Brown’s legacy in American history is, however, problematic. For some he is a great hero, but for others he was a fanatic who, although in the name of a great cause, used violence, murder and terror to achieve his aims.
In this discussion, you are to assess John Brown’s life, his beliefs and his actions, and make a judgment as to whether John Brown should be remembered as a great patriot, a dedicated soldier in the fight against slavery, or as a radical and dangerous (and possibly mentally insane) extremist who, despite his noble intentions, performed acts of terror and murder. Questions to consider:
In what way is John Brown an example of microhistory—an isolated event or person that represents a larger reality, a pattern that repeats itself in different forms throughout history? Timothy McVeigh, the man responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing (see below) is often compared to John Brown. Can you give an example of other contemporary persons or groups that would be a modern equivalent to John Brown and the Slavery issue?
HINT: Think of situations involving persons or groups fanatically devoted to a political, moral, social or religious belief who are willing to murder, assassinate or die to achieve it.

Would you consider John Brown a “terrorist” or a “freedom fighter”? What factors determine the difference between the two? Is violence, even for a good cause, ever justified?

Please read the attached 1,200 word essay written by Timothy McVeigh defending his actions, and answer the question I posed in the introductory paragraph.

Using the information you have gained over the course of this assignment, render a verdict as to John Brown’s guilt or innocence. Choose from the following options and give the reason you found most compelling to convince you.

Acquittal based on reasonable justification:
Innocent by virtue of insanity:
Guilty – sentence: Death by hanging
Answer all questions given on these instructions as well as the few questions that are on the Timothy McVeigh PDF that is attached



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