I agree with the description that is associated with John Brown that he is a terrorist. He carried out his acts of violence to terrorize those who supported slavery, which is exactly what a terrorist would do. Take what he did at Pottawatomie Creek, during the mayhem of Bleeding Kansas, on May 24 and May 25 in 1856 as an example of this. He and his four sons took five men and boys out of their beds in the middle of the night and brutally murdered them, these men and boys were pro slavery (Poppendorf, 2018). Usually terrorist attacks are related to violent attacks on political institutions, slavery at this time was considered a political institution. There was also the assault on the federal reserve in Harpers Ferry, Virginia on October 16, 1859 (Goldfield 308).
This time he would lead five blacks and thirteen whites to the federal reserve in order to start an slave revolt. By the time they actually captured the federal reserve, the slave revolt never happened and thus authorities went after the group. While many of his men did die, he was captured by Robert E. Lee alive and taken to court where he was put on trial and found guilty of murder and treason and sentenced to death. As he was hanged, many Northerners mourned him as a Martyr, someone who dies for his belief (Poppendorf, 2018). And while I do believe in the idea that he is Martyr because he fought heavily for what he believed in, it is the way he fought for what he believed in that makes me think of him as a terrorist.
There are two attributes that make me think of him as a terrorist. The First attribute is the fact that he carried out his actions in a way to enact violence and seemingly terror against those who supported the institution of slavery. The Second attribute is that he targeted those who believed opposite of him. The reason why I agree with these attributes is because these contribute to what a terrorist actually is. Although I do believe John Brown’s actions against the institutions of slavery was honorable and should be commended because there were not many people during that time that were willing to do things that outrageous in order to denounce slavery. But, it was the fact that the way he carried out these actions are what make him a terrorist.
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