John Brown: The Abolishment of Slavery Essay Example



John Brown plays a vital role in the abolition of slavery, through this he taught the world a valuable lesson. John Brown was one of the most prolific abolitionists of his time. He stood up for blacks slaves, rescued, and encouraged them to fight back.  He was one of the only white men to take charge of slavery. It wasn’t his problem, yet he sacrificed his life to stop slavery. His selfless actions to abolish slavery singles him out from other abolitionists.  He was a white man who was very religious and was taught at a very young age that slavery was wrong. Being a white abolitionist was very dangerous and John Brown faced it head-on. He devoted his whole heart and soul to help free slaves and obtain justice. This was done despite the backlash he would face from the powerful men who were pro-slavery. His selfless acts and anti-slavery beliefs were influenced by his, parents, being oppressed, and seeing slavery in person.

His actions were influenced by seeing slavery in person because that's where he first saw the reality of slavery. John Brown was born on May 9, 1800, in Torrington, Connecticut. Soon after Brown’s birth, the family moved to Hudson, Ohio. That is where his first encounter with slavery took place. When he was twelve his family traveled through Michigan.  John bore witness to an enslaved African-American boy with whom he had become friends, badly beaten and harshly treated.

This incident, he said, led him to declare "eternal war with slavery." He felt that slavery could be only abolished with bloodshed and G-d had made it his duty to do so.  In 1839 he decided that the South should be invaded and the slaves freed at gunpoint. If he hadn’t seen this brutality first hand, he wouldn’t have realized that slavery was wrong.  If he didn't already know it was wrong, perhaps he may not have felt the need to act. The incident that he saw first hand happened to his friend and he had not just heard about it. This is something that ignited the strong desire to abolish slavery and obtain justice.

The Influence of Parents 

The influence of his parents played another role that impacted his decision. His parents were Ruth Mills and Owen Brown. His father was a Calvinist and worked as a tanner changing animal skins into leather. His parents strongly believed in the Bible and had immense hatred for slavery. These religious views were instilled into Brown as a child.  Brown studied briefly for the ministry but quit to learn the tanner's trade. Despite being such a religious youth he decided the ministry was not for him.

Brown's religious upbringing that scrutinized slavery played in an important factor in his future abolitionist position. If he hadn't grown up like this then the cruel slavery he viewed would most likely have had no effect on him. He probably wouldn’t have so quick to believe slavery was wrong. The fact that he used violence to stop slavery shows it was probably his parents' hatred of slavery that influenced his actions because he didn’t seem very compassionate to the innocent woman and children he murdered so ruthlessly in cold blood. Because his parents weren’t there he probably only understood that slavery was wrong and if they had been alive they probably wouldn’t have approved of using violence. 

Brown’s oppressions played a huge impact on what influenced his thoughts and beliefs to abolish slavery. His experience of his wife's early depth influenced his understanding of suffering and that most likely helped him relate to the struggles of the free and unfreed African American slaves. He also faced a financial crisis which left him depressed. He planned on majoring in ministry which he studied but lack finances led him on a different path. He became a Tannery like his father. He was unsuccessful with this like the other occupations he would try. His family had to move a lot and his financial crisis only multiplied. 

This caused him to fret over the plight of the weak and oppressed black community mainly because related to them. He sought out their comfort and company and in 1849, moved in with a freedman community in North Elba, New York, for two years. He helped the freed slaves earn a livelihood by giving them free land and teaching them to farm. He went on to become a militant abolitionist, conduct in the Underground Railroad, and the organizer of a self-protection league for free blacks and fugitive slaves. He also seemed to have suffered a lot which may have led him to hate privileged and it is quite possible his violence towards some innocent was stemmed/derived from his personal struggles. His oppressions were quite clearly what helped influence his actions and beliefs which ultimately led to help abolish slavery. Recognize.      

Controversial Actions of John Brown

 As described above, John Brown was definitely influenced by personally seeing slavery for himself, his parents, and the oppressions he struggled with. He is considered an inspiration for being one of the only white men to fight back and being a hero in a sense because he saved many slaves and sought out justice for slavery. I think it is important to recognize that John Brown saved my lives and was a vital abolitionist. Though I think it’s important to not forget that he used violence to gain justice.

Two wrongs don’t make a right and he used hated to stop the hate. He killed a few people and it was him to decide who was innocent or guilty. John Brown declared “It is better than a whole generation of men, women, and children should pass away by a violent death than that slavery should live.” I believe that it is only G-d that can decide that because he sees every perspective of the world. It’s ironic, but one of the first people that Brown killed was a free black man who was killed by John Brown’s raiders because he by mistake didn’t obey instructions. One other example of John Brown’s violence was that he and his small band raided Pottawatomie Creek on May 24, 1856.   

They dragged five unarmed men and boys, believed to be slavery proponents, from their homes and brutally murdered them. What upsets me is that John Brown seems to be very sugar coated and I think that all aspects should be recognized. Even though slavery was so horrible and it seems there’s every right to revenge but if we glorify getting revenge then that may just be an omen for another terrible event like slavery. If John Brown had recognized his sins than maybe that would have sanctified his actions.

But he did not. A week before his trial as he lay wounded on a stretcher he said, "I believe that to have interfered as I have done," he said, "in behalf of His despised poor, I did no wrong, but right.… I am ready for my fate." Brown’s raids did much to hasten the coming of the Civil War. He was successful in rescuing many slaves but also failed miserably at Harper’s Ferry where he would be captured and hanged along with a few of his followers.

His sacrifice remains inspiring and important until this day. The fact that he risked his life to save others through his violent raids he could’ve been killed, and dealt with social discrimination from other white men. Many other white men had slicked into the shadows because they were afraid of the honor and bad reputation is “G-d forbid” they helped slaves. We should not forget that that using violence to stop violence is almost just as bad. It’s important to keep this in mind as we continue to go through our everyday life.