History free essay: History of the United States to 1865
History of the United States to 1865
Part of the American history and perhaps that of Europe in the 1800s is tainted by regimes flanked by slavery and the long hard fought battles to abolish it across the affected continents. Several episodes of uprisings were reported as the authorities and humanitarians participated in confrontations whose consequences left further divisions and political crevices on establishment of stable states. According to Earle (2), it is difficult to come to terms with the different interpretations that the involved sides made of each other as the confrontations went underway. Using one of the most famous accounts of such a confrontation in America, the author illustrates the impact of humanitarians’ calls for abolition linking John Brown’s Raid as a possible origin of the American Civil War. However, the noble intentions of the raid are usually taken out of context to associate its consequences with acts of terrorism. In spite of the dangerous approach adopted by John Brown and his associates in the Harpers Ferry episode, abolition campaign was like a time bomb that would have anyway exploded due to neglect and contempt of human rights issues. Flanked by this thesis statement, this essay will attempt to analyze the life of John Brown and the events at Harpers Ferry raid to pick a position on legality of his actions as reiterated in the accompanying conclusion.
Inequality and slavery in the polarized American society concerned John Brown to the extent that he found an alternative to peaceful abolition campaign that had not delivered results. Besides his desire to have a successful campaign for a slave free country, he was angered by some abolition positions that did not advocate for equality to the marginalized slave community (Earle, 13). Terrible aggression had been observed against slaves who were also subjected to inhumane conditions, a matter that inspired John Brown to apply similar tactics on the perpetrators of the violence on slaves. Alternatively, there was an apparent division into two southern and northern factions along hard-line positions on the issue of slavery. John Brown was a northerner, the faction that largely advocated for peaceful resolution of the American humanitarian concerns. Despite the fact that religious input into the campaign quelled application of any hostility tactic, the emergence of certain abolition activists who were desperate for the continued suppression of slaves and minorities was on the rise. The hostile abolitionists had realized that however dangerous it appeared, hostility was the appropriate tactic in time to offer the required turnaround.
It is worth to mention that the long stay that John Brown had with the Black American community, despite him being a white American gave him the necessary exposure that an activist needed. One of the reasons for the exposure factors is based on the fat that the most vocal humanitarian leaders happened to be whites. In order for an activist to have a passionate attachment of the campaign issues without bias on fundamental issues such as equality, coming to terms with the actual condition of the aggrieved was necessary (Earle, 35). The picture of the actual condition of the life of marginalized groups such as the Black American community could not have been presented clearer than by staying and interacting with them like John Brown did. Shocked by the reality of the situation on the ground, he must have been inspired to exert any form of pressure on both the naive humanitarian activists as well as the aggressors. No matter how scary the plan was going to be, the propulsion exerted by the humanitarian crisis in America was not containable any more. By planning to instill vibrancy into the campaign with the similar magnitude that the aggressors committed in their inequality systems, hostility could have ranked top on the available alternatives.
In order to carry out his plan of launching an attack of the Harpers Ferry, John Brown had to lay down pre-raid logistics. He particularly had to make the appropriate preparation regarding the attack as well as formulate a plan for the entire process (Earle, 23). Some of the most determinative steps towards the raid on Harpers Ferry can be summarized to three main actions that John Brown facilitated. First, putting a group together that was made up of a total of 22 men acted as a positive in the right direction. Comparing the composition of the races in the group, it demonstrates the magnitude of influence that John Brown had particularly among the white Americans. The fact that three of his sons were involved in the raid shows the availability of the most important family support that he needed could have acted as a key strength despite the challenges posed. Secondly, facilitating military training in his assembled group is definitely determinative of the approach every involved person had about the raid. Since the success of the raid depended on a military plan and form of hostility, training was needed by every member of an activist grouping intending to undertake such a high profile project. Thirdly, the prior formulation of a program of key activities such as strategic attack of the Harpers Ferry, progress approach and slave freeing activities paint a picture of a positive intention that John Brown had just like any other activist.
From an analysis point of view, these actions create the weakest link that terrorism could be introduced with into the intention of the group. Using the motivation yardstick that John Brown and his followers had, it is clear that the creation of an Appalachian state would act as a turning point for freedom of human beings. The fact that he had failed to include some major and influential abolitionists into his group was purely on the premise of the involved brutality of the American regime to freedom and equality proponents. The issue of illegality was not among the reasons why John Brown failed to obtain support largely due to the illegality of the slavery systems adopted by in America. However, Brown and his crew were determined to fore ahead and punch holes on the barbaric administration whose verdict was about to emerge from Americans sooner or later. Terrorist activities would not be concerned about achieving a noble result like freedom that the Raid intended. The disillusionment with which the American people had tolerated slavery was masked by their reluctance to accept a more equal society. Terrorism is therefore out of the equation having seen the humanitarian ingenuity employed at the raid by such a small group that represented the views of many Americans.
On the contrary, accusations directed at John Brown have dubbed his initiative as a terrorist kind of approach and as such, the authorities were to act firmly against this incidence. The application of armed violence on a government defense facility has severally been likened with the attack of the nation and the supremacy of the American people. Proponents of this observation strongly support the charges read to John Brown and subsequently concur with the delivered verdict. Much of the trial arguments were mainly based on the gravity of an attack of a government facility meant to protect the supremacy of the American people. Due to the magnitude of the general interpretation of the action, rather than its intention regarding the entire American population, John Brown and his crew were severely punished before the law.
To dispel the opponents of John Brown’s move to undertake his plan, a strong statement can be made to the effect that there was weakness in the entire government system. The failure of the federal government and its reluctance to quash slavery and inequality was felt at all levels of its structure including the judiciary which was likewise polarized in favor of the vices. By taking Brown to an American court which apparently served in a regime that did not value what Brown was fighting for was the biggest mistake of the prosecution. In an ordinary independent scenario, the federal government must have demonstrated its willingness to support human rights by accepting and embracing abolition agenda. Charging and convicting such a revolutionist was just an ignorant escape from the reality that was fast catching up with the political administrations that tolerated slavery and inequality (Earle, 27). This was only fueling more tension and a time had come for a massive campaign that would not be stopped. The American Civil War and secession would not have arisen were it not for stronger desire for freedom that the regime had suppressed for a long time.
In conclusion, it can plainly be said that the origin of the raid at the Harpers Ferry was an indication of a tough battle that was not going to be lost. Human rights activists were not going to allow insensitive treatment of human beings irrespective of their skin color. America has struggled in the war against racism than any other country since it ignored calls of vocal abolitionists such as John Brown. Polarization of the country along quality mentalities further fueled the tension that the American society has been faced with for several decades after the Harpers Ferry raid. Perhaps the contempt on which John Brown’s message was met with explains the consequential impact felt for that long. However, the resilience with which the activists stood with demonstrate that the champions of the plight of the oppressed were going to press on despite the danger that lay ahead of some approaches adopted such as by John Brown and his associates in the Harpers Ferry episode. It can be summarized by stating that slavery abolition and human equality campaigns were like a time bomb that would have anyway exploded due to neglect and contempt of human rights magnitude.
Earle, Jonathan. 2008. John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry: A Brief History with Documents. New York, NY: Bedford, St. Martins Pre
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