The following is a response to "Freedom's Martyr":
David S. Reynolds calls John Brown “a man whose heroic effort to free
four million enslaved blacks helped start the war that ended slavery."
However, the author fails to consider some important aspects of the
story. The author neglects to include the gruesome details of Brown’s
assault. Brown and his men murdered a bridge crossing guard and held
nearly forty citizens captive as hostages to ensure their own
security. These actions hardly seem worthy of presidential pardon.
Similarly, the author also seems to insinuate that Brown’s Raid is
justified because it instigated the Civil War, which eventually led to
the abolition slavery. However, Brown’s Raid only contributed to the
isolation that many southerners felt, which precipitated the Civil War
by putting any type of diplomatic solution out of the question. Many
scholars agree that Brown’s Raid convinced southerners that the North
was determined to spread radical Republican ideals and abolish
slavery. However, at the time, most northerners were only against the
extension of slavery into the territories and did not want to
interfere with the institution in the southern states. Brown’s Raid
ended any hope of a peaceful solution to factional disputes. We
should think not think of John Brown as the hero who started the war
that ended slavery; rather, the uncompromising extremist who ended any
hope of a nonviolent solution to the nation’s problems.