Posts tagged Lincoln

John Brown, Insane? Does it matter?

So on the question of  trying to figure out if he was insane…this brings me to the question of sanity and its relevance.

Is the sanity of a historical figure relevant to understanding his choices and actions.

John Brown must have felt insane, living in a society that preached liberty but shackled slaves. The hypocrisy would have driven me crazy…

But I don’t know if it would have driven me to kill..

I think that John Brown’s contemporaries were grateful to have him around. He had the balls to act on the movement to destroy slavery. John Brown and his men declared war on slavery, and so they fought…

He was so outraged and he had the foresite to understand that an attack in the heart of Dixie at Harper’s Ferry would play to the severe anxieties of slaveholders in the South that it would spark a civil war…

The Harper’s Ferry Raid in 1859, and the election of an anti-slavery president in 1860, led to the sucession of South Carolina, and the other soon to be confederate states soon followed.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation was only declared two and a half years into the fighting, and it only freed slaves in states that Lincoln didn’t have any technical jurisdiction over, it did lead to the total abolition of overt slavery.

Lincoln was strategic in his proclamation, and did so in attempt to heal the Union as soon as possible. He could not afford to alienate the border slave states that were still Union by freeing their slaves. The politics and intricacies of the war are far more interesting and complicated than I would have thought.

It is not as easy as- ‘Lincoln freed the slaves,’ or the opposite, ‘Lincoln didn’t care about slaves, was a racist, and only freed them to help break the confederate states.” It is somewhere in between…

Lincoln’s actions cannot be understood in short platitudes, nor can John Browns

It almost does not matter if either of them were ‘insane.’ But their role in America’s history is so undoubtedly important, this is for certain.

I think it is interesting to analyze the sanity of historical figures, and I do believe that John Brown was crazy, but he was crazy brave, and he was willing to do what many others were not, and if anything our nation is just as indepted to his legacy as Abraham Lincoln’s in abolishing slavery. Their roles were certainly different, and John Brown got the short stick in what roles they played. But ultimately if I were to pick which was my true hero, I might pick Brown because he was absolutely against slavery and was willing to go to any means necessary, and Lincoln was tepid if best about the absolute abolition of slavery…

I could go on and on…

but for now… here is a clip of Johnny Cash playing John Brown and the attack on Harper’s Ferry

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