By George Novack
First Published: New International, Vol.IV No.1, January 1938, pp.23-26
Simulposted with Marxists Internet Archive
John Brown was a revolutionary terrorist. There was nothing alien or exotic about him; he was a genuine growth of the American soil. The roots of his family tree on both sides reached back among the first English settlers of Connecticut. The generations of Browns were pious Protestant pioneers, tough and upstanding, and singularly consistent in their ideas, characters, and ways of life. John Brown was the third fighter for freedom of that name in his family and was himself the parent of a fourth. His grandfather died in service as a captain in the Revolutionary war. His father was an active abolitionist, a station-master and conductor on the underground railway.
Born in 1800, the pattern of John Brown’s first fifty years reproduced the life of his father. His father has married three times and had sixteen children; John Brown married twice and had twenty children, every living soul among them pledged to hate and fight black bondage. Like his father, John, too, was “very quick on the move”, shifting around ten times in the Northeastern states before his call to Kansas. He was successively—but not very successfully—a shepherd, tanner, farmer, surveyor, cattle-expert, real estate speculator, and wool-merchant. In his restlessness, his constant change of occupation and residence, John Brown was a typical middle-class American citizen of his time.
How did this ordinary farmer and business man, this pious patriarch become transformed into a border chieftain and a revolutionary terrorist? John had inherited his family’s love of liberty and his father’s abolitionism. At an early age he had sworn eternal war against slavery. His barn at Richmond, Pennsylvania, where in 1825 he set up a tannery, the first of his commercial enterprises, was a station on the underground railway. Ten years later he was discussing plans for the establishment of a Negro school.
“If once the Christians in the Free States would set to work in earnest in teaching the blacks,” he wrote his brother, “the people of the slaveholding States would find themselves constitutionally driven to set about the work of emancipation immediately.”
As the slave power tightened its grip upon the government, John Brown’s views on emancipation changed radically. “A firm believer in the divine authenticity of the Bible”, he drew his inspiration and guidance from the Old Testament rather than the New. He lost sympathy with the abolitionists of the Garrison school who advocated the Christ-like doctrine of non-resistance to force. He identified himself with the shepherd Gideon who led his band against the Midianites and slew them with his own hand.
A project for carrying the war into the enemy’s camp had long been germinating in John Brown’s mind. By establishing a stronghold in the mountains bordering Southern territory from which his men could raid the plantations, he planned to free the slaves, and run them off to Canada. On a tour to Europe in 1851 he inspected fortifications with an eye to future use; he carefully studied military tactics, especially of guerrilla warfare in mountainous territory. Notebooks on his reading are still extant.
Read the rest: http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/?p=1254#more-1254
Not everyone agrees that Lincoln's Civil War was completely just and constitutional.
Some hidden history.
Abraham Lincoln's "Bank War"
Abraham Lincoln: America's Greatest War Crimial
The History of Money
No president in our history ever abused his power, trashed the US Constitution, or committed more crimes than Lincoln. He acted like a total Dictator.
He waged a war that cost the lives of 620,000 Americans. Including the murder of 50,000 innocent Southern civilians.
He suspended the writ of habeas corpus without the consent of Congress (as required by the Constitution).
He had duly elected State representatives illegally jailed without charges.
He illegally imprisoned without warrant or trial some 13,000 Northern citizens who opposed his policies
He illegally shut down and confiscated the printing presses of dozens of newspapers that had spoken out against him.
He re-instated and summarily promoted an Army officer who had been court martialed and cashiered by the US Army for war crimes.
He illegally deported a member of Congress after said congressman criticized his unconstitutional behaviour.
He even had an arrest warrant issued for the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court because said justice refused to back his illegal actions.
Chief Justice Roger B Taney ruled that Lincolns actions were illegal, criminal and unconstitutional.
Lincoln locked up Maryland legislators to prevent them from voting to secede from the Union, thats kidnapping.
He invaded the South without the consent of Congress as required by the Constitution, thats a war crime.
He blockaded Southern ports without a delclaration of war, as required by the Constitution, thats another war crime.
He imprisoned without trial, hundreds of newspaper editors and owners and censored all newspaper and telegraph communication.
He created three new states without the consent of the citizens of those states in order to artificially inflate the Republican Party’s electoral vote.
He ordered Federal troops to interfere with Northern elections to assure his Party's victories.
He confiscated private property, including firearms, in violation of the Second Amendment; and effectively gutted the Tenth and Ninth Amendments as well.
He had his Generals attack US cities full of women and children and burn them to the ground.
I could go on but you get my point.
Lincoln should have been shot for his actions.
And he was.