The presidential pardoning of the deceased is a very important and powerful tool in acknowledging our country’s faults. By pardoning a man once committed with treason for leading a slave revolt, there is a general acknowledgement of our government’s culpability, which puts forward a new expectation of equality. It proves that laws are not always ethical, and that through protest, discrimination can change.
Through out the article Freedom's Martyr, David Reynolds talks of “rescue[ing] John Brown,” yet the foremost affect of pardoning Brown would be the empowerment of the civil rights movement, which is still very much alive today. We should not pardon John Brown just for John Brown’s sake. He was, after all, a murderer who broke laws that, I personally believe, cannot be pardoned. Yet we should pardon John Brown as an acknowledgement to the millions who have suffered, and still suffer, discrimination under the hands of the government. Forgiving John Brown is not forgiving murder, or treason, or any other laws that may have been broken; forgiving John Brown is offering an apology that our government has owed the people for more than two hundred years.