Was John Brown a Traitor? (Poll)

Was John Brown a Traitor?

  • Yes

    Votes: 59 60.8%
  • No

    Votes: 35 36.1%
  • Don't Know

    Votes: 3 3.1%

  • Total voters
    97

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Location
los angeles ca
Theres a difference between what the crime could be seen as, and what it actually was..He never planned on overthrowing any state or federal government but to steal slaves then funnel them thru a series of armed outposts to the North..Whether the slave states saw the theft of private property as a direct attack on them and their lifestyle is irrelevant to whether he was guilty of treason.

Nailed it!
Leftyhunter
 

brass napoleon

Colonel
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...Lee didn't say I'm going to fight for Virginia because my Virginian masters bid me too, after much thought and deliberation he felt a higher calling that made him leave the US army and join Virginia and his family...

Can't answer the rest of this post until I address this. This is incorrect. Lee required no thinking or deliberation about joining Virginia and his family. That was a "no-brainer" for him. The thinking and deliberation came when he had to decide whether to resign his U.S. army commission BEFORE Virginia seceded.
 

wilber6150

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deep in the Mohawk Valley of Central New York
Can't answer the rest of this post until I address this. This is incorrect. Lee required no thinking or deliberation about joining Virginia and his family. That was a "no-brainer" for him. The thinking and deliberation came when he had to decide whether to resign his U.S. army commission BEFORE Virginia seceded.
Actually, he did since he considered secession as unConstitutional and merely revolution..
 

brass napoleon

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Is violating the Constitution an act of treason?

Not to me. But to JerseyBart it apparently is. But that's the point I'm making. In the absence of a conviction before a jury of one's peers, treason is in the eye of the beholder.
 

brass napoleon

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Actually, he did since he considered secession as unConstitutional and merely revolution..

No, he really didn't. He was always very clear that he would go with Virginia. Look at the letter where he said "secession is nothing but revolution". He clearly stated he would go with Virginia nevertheless. Remember, revolution was not considered a heinous crime in that day. Only eighty years earlier the United States was born out of revolution. Even Lincoln conceded that revolution was "a right".
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
You should browse the ' What's New ' option, when logging in. It's starting to look like a thread all by itself, all those dirty little traitors 150 years ago. The next thread will be was the entire Confederate Army one gray traitorous entity swarming all over their righteous brethern? Was the Union for preventing the southern states from seceding? Was Lincoln the biggest traitor of all, not backing up those wussies who wrote the Constitution in the first place?

This could get long.
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Right here.
I have in the past considered Brown a traitor; however, I'm rethinking that. He went to Harpers Ferry to be a thief. Theft is not treason. He fired on townspeople who fired on him. When the US Marines got there, he was attempting to avoid capture. I don't see him as levying war on the United States, therefore, no treason. Now, then. He did have plans to free slaves and set up a sanctuary for slaves in the mountains. Depending on what he was going to do there and how he was going to maintain it, had he been able to implement his scheme it is possible he could have committed treason.
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Right here.
How long should people wait? Well, seeing as slavery had been in America for over 200 years at that point, I would say waiting a few more years to get things going wasn't unreasonable, especially considering the massive change in public sentiment in the previous 5 years. Since when does ONE person get to decide the timetable for an entire country? (Other than in a dictatorship, that is)

"You've waited 200 years, what's 5 more?"
"You've waited 205 years, what's 5 more?"
"You've waited 210 years, what's 5 more?"
"You've waited 215 years, what's 5 more?"
"You've waited 220 years, what's 5 more?"
"You've waited 225 years, what's 5 more?"

...

"You've waited 400 years, what's 5 more?"
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Right here.
Huh? While I will totally agree with you that the slavers showed "no regard at all for the democratic process and were willing to use force to get what they lost politically", that was AFTER John Brown's attack, not before it. It certainly doesn't justify John Brown's attack. In fact, John Brown's attack played right into their hands.

Given all the threats of secession in 1850 and throughout the decade, it was definitely before. Given the violence in Bleeding Kansas that was started by proslavery people, it was definitely before.
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
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Location
Right here.
But his plan included a widespread armed insurrection against a people who had committed no crime in the legal sense. His plan was to establish a bastion of abolition in the heart of the South, a place he intented to establish his own State with its own laws and its own government and its own army - read his constitution - he may not have planned to overthrow the governments of the Southern States but he certainly planned to steal their land and create a land of his own, independent of them with its own President. This would have place him and his State at war with the Southern States of the Union, and that was treason as defined by the US Constitution in article 3: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort." Thus the intention to create his own State in open opposition to the Southern States and their way of life is a treasonous act.

Once he established that bastion and began that widespread insurrection, it is possible he may have committed treason. But attempted theft is not treason.
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Location
Right here.
There was much talk in the North about secession also. William Lloyd Garrison and his followers had slogans "No Union with Slaveholders" and "A Free Northern Republic". Were they also treasonous?

Free speech. I don't see where they acted on those slogans.
 

brass napoleon

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"You've waited 200 years, what's 5 more?"
"You've waited 205 years, what's 5 more?"
"You've waited 210 years, what's 5 more?"
"You've waited 215 years, what's 5 more?"
"You've waited 220 years, what's 5 more?"
"You've waited 225 years, what's 5 more?"

...

"You've waited 400 years, what's 5 more?"

Would you not agree that for the first time in this country's history, we had a viable political party committed to the "ultimate extinction" of slavery? And that this party was making rapid advances in gaining political power? And that at the time of the Harpers Ferry raid this party had a good chance of winning the Presidency?

Isn't this the whole reason that the Cotton 7 states were in such a hurry to secede? Because they knew the clock was running out on them?
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Right here.
Would you not agree that for the first time in this country's history, we had a viable political party committed to the "ultimate extinction" of slavery? And that this party was making rapid advances in gaining political power? And that at the time of the Harpers Ferry raid this party had a good chance of winning the Presidency?

Isn't this the whole reason that the Cotton 7 states were in such a hurry to secede? Because they knew the clock was running out on them?

No, I would not agree based on what they knew at the time. The Liberty Party had come and gone. The Free Soil Party was another flash in the pan. Public opinion caved to slave power threats in 1856. Nobody knew the Republican Party could be viable.

The cotton states seceded after Lincoln was elected, not before.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Can't answer the rest of this post until I address this. This is incorrect. Lee required no thinking or deliberation about joining Virginia and his family. That was a "no-brainer" for him. The thinking and deliberation came when he had to decide whether to resign his U.S. army commission BEFORE Virginia seceded.


In the sense that Lee had been definite about what he would do if Virginia seceded, this is true. From November of 1860 to April of 1861, Lee was very consistent: he would follow Virginia even though he thought secession was nothing but treason.

Robert E. Lee and his family, though, did ponder and discuss this in the days before Virginia seceded. Robert E. met with his brother Smith in Washington. He had dinner with two cousins who would remain loyal to the Union (US Army and Navy). He spoke with his friend Joseph E. Johnston. Virginians all, they took different paths. All pondered what they would do and agonized over what they felt they must do. In the end, Lee resigned when Virginia chose secession -- just as he had said he would do all along.

Tim
 
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