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John Brown Dbq

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The view of John Brown's raid changed over time between 1859 and 1863. In 1859, he was disliked and viewed as a fanatic radical by both the north and the south, where as in 1863, he was viewed as a hero in the north, but he was still detested in the south.

Most people disagreed with John Brown's actions immediately following his death. "[Brown's mistakes] are the errors of a fanatic." (Greeley, Doc A) is a good way to describe most people's feelings toward Brown following his hanging on December 2, 1859. John Brown was also viewed as a failure. "[Brown's actions] went behind the human law, it went behind apparent failure" (Thoreau, Doc B). However, most people were ashamed and apologetic. "There are two classes of men who apologize for Brown... apologize for Brown by publishing in their papers every word they can catch in his praise" (Topeka Tribune, Doc C). A fanatic failure is what John Brown was in 1859.

During the 1860's, the tide turned a bit in the North and John Brown was viewed as more of a hero. "I esteem [meeting Brown] as one of the highest privileges of my life." (Douglass, Doc F). John Brown was so much of a hero, a song was written for him. "Glory, glory Hallelujah! His soul is marching on" (Civil War Song, Doc G). John Brown was esteemed a lot more as the civil war progressed.

Even though John Brown was a godsend in the North, the South still did not view him too highly. This is best demonstrated by the 1863 Currier & Ives lithograph (Doc H). John is raised above everyone else in a Jesus-like way with the phrase "Sic Semper Tyrannis" above him. This is saying that Brown people think of Brown as a messiah, but he really is just a tyrant. The slave mother in the lithograph looks angry. This could describe how John Brown's raid did nothing for the slave and how they were still not free.

Right after John Brown's death, both the north and the south thought the same about the foolish, radical John Brown. As the Civil War progressed, the two views became more and more divided. Thus, John Brown became a hero in the north, yet stayed the same in the south.

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