The proposition brought up in "Freedom's Martyr" that John Brown should be pardoned posthumously is ridiculous. While John Brown's intentions were honorable his action were not. By pardoning him it would send the message that acts of violence are acceptable ways to protest. This country values free speech but we also understand there must be limits to prevent the shed of blood in the name of belief.
The author claims that we should not be bothered by Brown's actions because nobody's perfect and many of his contemporaries also had flaws. Murder and closed-mindedness are not comparable. Murder is not a folly but a crime and should not be treated as such. Also many of Brown's contemporaries including those who agreed with abolition saw his actions as going too far, and the Republican party at the time said that while they supported his intentions they did not condone his actions.
We claim that its ok for him to try and incite a rebellion because he was doing it for the right cause, but we forget that everything is relative. The confederates thought that by withdrawing from the union they were doing the right thing to preserve what they thought was a superior way of life. This sets the example that violence is an acceptable way to draw attention to a cause and be a force for change. Every person with a so-called cause would now be taught that those who commit violent acts would be hailed as martyrs by the public, and believe that by doing the same they could help their cause. There is a reason John Brown was found guilty back then and that reason still stands true today regardless of why he acted he acted far too harshly and brutally to be forgiven.