John Brown was an abolitionist who was known for his violent actions and his erratic behavior. During his time fighting for the end of slavery, he was known as a madman who used excessive force in order to achieve his goals. However, after his death, John Brown’s story grew immensely. As each new era in history has passed, different ways of interpretation of Brown have been used to attempt to alter the public opinion. While chapter one focuses on the history behind John Brown and his upbringing, chapters two, three, and four emphasize the change in history and how this change has altered the story of John Brown. Chapter two concentrates on the Civil War. During the Civil War, the North and the South had opposing views: the North proclaiming him as a hero, and the South as a villainous madman. Chapter three explains that John Brown, through the 20th century, was depicted in different ways due to the different events such as the Civil Rights Movement and due to the invention of new mediums to embody his character such as a movie and television. Nowadays, as studied in chapter four, the focus of John Brown is on his close representation to the modern-day terrorist. By examining the historical events and changes in America from Brown’s death in 1859, it is obvious that as time passes, the story of John Brown will continue to be transformed to fit with the current time period.


Sene, Ibra




United States History


John Brown, Terrorist, Martyr, Harper's Ferry, Bleeding Kansas

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Joseph R. Gilmore