Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

John Brown: Terrorist, Hero or Terrorist Hero?

John Brown: Terrorist, Hero or Terrorist Hero?

Tue, 24 Dec 2019 11:00

John Brown: Terrorist, Hero or Terrorist Hero?

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Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. So four whole months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Bing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts hey y'all, it's Carolyn Hobby hosted get real with Caroline Hobby interviewing the most fascinating people in Nashville and beyond. I talked to artists, I talked to the wives of artists. I talked to women entrepreneurs who have created businesses who are moms, who juggle a million hats and do it all. Each episode will leave you inspired, feeling like you can accomplish your own dream and calling listen to new episodes of get Real with Caroline Hobby every Monday on the Nashville. Podcast network available on iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcast. Mary Holiday, Miss Swanick Conica, whatever holidays, it's the time of the year where people celebrate things, and maybe this year people feel a little bit less like celebrating because it has been a dark one, and the year before it was also pretty dark. And next year is not going to be less dark. But we have another behind the ******** Christmas special, which is is, you know, a bit of a tradition here. Well, this is now the second time we've done it. So now it's officially a tradition where we break with our tradition of telling stories about the worst people in all of history and instead highlight a hero. Last year, I told everybody the story of Raoul Wallenberg, a man who risked his life and spent the entirety of his considerable privilege saving lives from the Nazis. And this year, we're going to talk about another hero of mine. John Effin Brown and today my guest is my producer, Sophie. Air horn. Air horn. Air horn. Hello, Sophie. How you doing? How's your how's your holiday going? It's holiday, you know. Yeah, you are you. You do you enjoy this time of year? Are you big Chris Messer? No. No, I mean, I don't dislike this time of year, but I'm not like. Yeah, what's your what's your favorite holiday? Easter well, that's the wrong answer, but you're allowed to give me the funniest look. But it is actually true that Easter is my favorite holiday. Such a **** holiday, other than the Cadbury creme eggs, which are objectively great like candy is the best for Easter. It is the best for Easter, and that's a serious injustice because the pies are best for Christmas. That's true. So Sophie, Sophie. So fee, Sophie. Here we are. What do you know about John Brown? For the second podcast, I know nothing. You know nothing. You don't know any. The name doesn't ring any bells to you. Let's just let's just. No, really. OK, well, let's do this. Yeah, he's probably somebody people heard about in high school for, like, a paragraph or two. He's usually like, right before the Civil War starts, you'll get a couple paragraphs, like one of those little insert boxes about John Brown and the raid on Harpers Ferry. And he's a he's an interesting guy because, like Wallenberg, he gave his life fighting against the greatest evil of his age. But Wallenberg was kind of like almost a St like in terms of his personal character and conduct, and John Brown was a terrorist. And also it doesn't mean he was wrong. Well, he grew up in the like early 1800s when life was terrible. So like he probably looked that way by the time he was ******* 20. But yeah, he he looks rough. Wow. The only pictures you that exist of him. His skin looks like tanned leather, like he looks like he's been getting punched in the face by sandpaper for a living, for 57 years. Yes, he's hard life. So while I was researching this episode, I came across an article by the Smithsonian magazine. It includes a quote from Dennis Fry, the National Park Services chief historian for Harpers Ferry, where John Brown conducted his famous raid to try to liberate the slaves of the American S and Fry said this about John. Americans do not deliberate about John Brown. They feel him. He is still alive today in the American soul. He represents something for each of us, but none of us is in agreement about what he means. And that's really interesting to me because. John Brown's legacy has been cited by bombers of abortion clinics and most recently by Willem van Spronsen, who assaulted an ice facility in Tacoma, WA and died attempting to destroy their buses to stop them from being able to deport people. So John Brown is the kind of guy who speaks to a lot of people. I was going to say wide range of audience, yeah, literally the widest range possible if you're looking at folks who are influenced by this guy. So this is a more complicated story, I think, morally than the story of Wallenberg. But I do think John Brown was still a hero. So we'll, we'll see how you feel at the end of this tale. John Brown was born on May 9th, 1800 at to Owen Brown and Ruth Mills in the town of Torrington, CT. Well, there you go. He might be the descendant of John Brown. Yeah. John was the 4th of eight children between his father and his father's first wife. John's namesake was Captain John Brown, a farmer and Revolutionary War hero who'd briefly fought against the British in 1776 before dying of dysentery in a New York barn. The I guess that qualifies you as a hero. When Captain Brown died, he left behind a pregnant widow and ten children, including Owen Brown, who wrote that after his father's death. We lost our crops and then our cattle, and so became poor. So John Brown does not come from money, unlike Wallenberg. He's he's, he's, he's he's from a family that's been poor since his dad was little. Now, the Browns were strict Calvinists and, in brief, Calvinism. Yeah. Do you know what Calvinism is? Yeah. How would you describe Calvinism, Sophie? It's like, it's like. Super strict Christianity. Yeah, better phrasing. It's like, it's intense. It's like they're like really, really believed in. Like. The Lord. Yeah, yeah. And they're like the kind of a lot in a lot of ways, the predecessors of a lot of today's evangelicals because they, they they believe that you can't do good things to save your soul from from hell. Like, it's totally God's choice. And so a lot of them believe that, like, where you go end up after death is like, predicted or is like, decided before your birth. So they were they were pretty ******** fundamentalists. I don't like that. Yeah. It's not great. It's not my my particular choice of religion, but it was a pretty common. One, at that point in time, and in the part of America where Brown grew up, that's a bad time. It's like, hey, it wasn't a great time. Hey, I wouldn't want a good person, but also, you're going to hell. It doesn't matter what you do. Yeah. That's very depressing. Yeah. When you read religious tracts from people back then, the the kind of God they worship seems more like a terrorist to me, but. And not the good kind of terrorist which we're talking about today. So this kind of a terrorist like a yeah. Yeah. Now, uh, some of what we know about John's early life comes from a note he wrote a 12 year old who was the son of one of the men who financed his crusade against slavery. So he like wrote this summary of his life for the kid of one of the people who was backing this guerrilla war that he ended up fighting. My source. Yeah, yes. My source of choice. Yeah. I write notes to a lot of 12 year olds just in case I wind up waging a guerrilla war. It it does, it sounds creepier than it was. Yeah, it wasn't really creepy, but it does sound creepy when you sum it up that way. And in that note, here's how Brown described his childhood, and he wrote this in the third person because he's a weirdo. I cannot tell you of anything in the first four years of John's life worth mentioning, save that at an early age he was tempted by three large brass pins belonging to a girl who lived in the family and stole them. In this he was detected by his mother and after having a full day to think of the wrong received from her, a thorough whipping. So this is what John Brown thinks is important to tell a little kid about his childhood. He's like, hey kid. Back in my day, my sack pins. Yeah, well, there's like guy. He's punishment is important to him. He's like, listen, listen, you think you had it bad? Whipping? All I'm going to say whipping. Oh, I bet that kid got whipped too. I think they were whipping kids all throughout the 1800s. But is it wasn't like that normal? Is that that? Yes, yes. Yeah, for sure. Right. Yeah, the the abuse, like, obviously, like we can say that. What happened to John Brown as a kid? Was abuse by our standard for like, at the time, it was pretty much just how kids grew up. You know, you give them some whippings. They were. They were harder times, Robert. Yeah. And it was also a time in which the most common reaction to gut wrenching poverty was to pack up everything you owned and just move vaguely West. And in Brown's case, this took his family to Ohio, which at that point was called funny. It sounds like half my relatives are like, you know what? It's what I did. Yeah. I mean, yeah. Sounds like. Her parents. Umm, yeah. It's it's it's kind of the defining emotion of this country. I'm not happy here. What if I had Westmore? You're like, alright, I'm, I'm now I'm in San Diego. What do I do? It's like, I guess the sea. Yeah. If you're miserable in San Diego, you just gotta walk into the ocean. Yeah. Don't walk into the maybe don't do that unless you're like, walking, but like, you're still. You can still. Yeah. We don't. We don't. We don't control drowning. Yeah, so Brandt family moved to Ohio when he was a wee lad, which at that point was not called Ohio. It was called the Western Reserve by kinetic cushions. I don't know what you call people from Connecticut, and I refuse to learn. Oh, and yeah, no, screw the horrible. Well, they should have lived in a state that should have gone with a better name, yeah. Yeah, like ******* Iowa's right there. Rhode Island, all fine names, yeah. Now, Owen Brown considered this move West to be an active religious devotion as well as practicality, part of a glorious attempt to extend the benefits of Christendom further into what he saw as an untamed continent. John Brown, however, loved the wild nature of the Western Reserve. He wrote with excitement that it was a quote wilderness filled with wild beasts and Indians. Now, unlike many of his contemporaries, Brown and his family were on friendly terms with the natives. One of John's friends was a Native American boy who gave him a yellow marble as a gift. John was heartbroken. And he lost it. According to the book Midnight Rising by Tony Horwitz quote, he also displayed an unusual tolerance towards the native inhabitants of Ohio. Some persons seemed disposed to quarrel with the Indians, but I never was, he wrote. Nor did he proselytize or damn natives as heathens as Puritans of old would have done. Instead, he traded meal for Fish and Game. He also built a log shelter to protect local Indians from an Indian tribe. Young John used to hang about Indians as much as he could, the beginnings of a lifelong sympathy for natives that stood in stark contrast to the prevailing. Hostility of white Americans. So we're seeing a guy here who's capable of at least transcending from an early age, capable of transcending the biases of his time to an extent, right? That's very loves to mention sources of young boys. Well, he was a young boy, OK? So we're gonna. He was like, he was like, he was like 5-6 years old. Yeah, he was a little kid. He was not a young man at this point. Do you like that? It was a yellow marble. Yeah, it was a yellow marble. That's the best color of marble, I assume. Obviously, I don't know much about. Yellow is my favorite color. That's why I'm saying. And I'm a narcissist. So continue. Weird Sophie, sorry. Now, during this. John Brown started will become a lifelong practice of living in difficult conditions and surviving off of his wits. He spent basically his whole childhood camping and hunting for meat. His father dressed him in the hides of animals that his family had killed, and John grew up living off of animals but also holding great affection for them. As a young boy, he found a baby bobtail squirrel, which he raised and hand tamed. When his beloved pet died. He mourned it for years. He's very sensitive boy. Yeah, yeah, he's he's he's got some sweetness to him. Now, at age 8, John's mother died in childbirth. His father remarried almost immediately, and John considered his stepmother a very esteemable woman, but he never got over the loss of his mom, and he would mourn her for the rest of his life. In total, John's father, Owen, married three women the last time when he was in his 60s, and he had 16 children totally with him. Which is a number that John would best. Yeah, the the Browns make a lot of people. I mean, damn John. Yeah. Now, as a boy, John is what you would call spirited. I mean, you would have to be to be one of 16. You gotta stick out. Yeah, you gotta stick out. Yeah, and he seems to have. He lied to his parents a lot and he was punished for it regularly. He played very hard and was notable for like, playing in a kind of a violent manner. He probably hurt a lot of his friends. He seems to have been one of those people who was just unreasonably full of energy from a very young age, and that he was that way his entire life. He always had way too much *******. Energy, like reading about John Brown's life is ******* exhausting. So John wrote that he was quote ambitious to perform the full labour of a man when he was already a young child, and he started working full time at age 12 when he drove his father's herd of cattle 100 miles on his own. So he's just immediately doing like more work than most grown men today. How many cattle are in a herd? I don't know, but it was probably a few dozen at least. Was that like a thing that people are going to be like, how do you all know that? Well, no, there's no set number for her. It's just a group of cows. Alright, so by the time this kid is, I hate cows. Why? They're just stupid fat horses. That's what I think. The average word size in the US is just over 200, I think. But that's now the Canadian dairy herds average 80. That's probably closer to this. So interesting. They would have expected. Yeah, I don't think you would have. That would have been a pretty large herd back then. But I I don't know. I don't know. This is more than 100 cows make up just three percent. Oh no. Less than that. Less than, less than a percent of the total dairy farm population. This is so interesting. Sorry. Continue. Farm I grew up on had about 100 hundred head of cattle. But you don't like cows. Well, that's part of why I don't like cows. I live close to him for years. Were they mean? So, you know, in in all fairness to the cows, I was worse to the cows than the cows were to me because I was a little boy and it was fun to herd them with a broomstick and all right. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Well, no, you just you just hit him in the *** and they run around. I would love to see Anderson with, like, a herd of cow. Dogs love it, man. They love. I mean, she has herding instincts. I mean, she's a load of the ground, but she is technically a cattle dog. Yeah, she would thrive. Anderson, do you hear this? Yeah, she would love that now. So by the time John Brown is like a teenager, and by that I mean like 13 or 14, he's probably done more hard physical labor than like most of the grown men in the US today have done in their whole lives. And most stories you'll read about John will emphasize that he was almost supernaturally tough and had an endless tolerance for hard work and physical pain. This was matched with a fanatic religious sort of distaste for comfort. He would later write with pride that he had never attempted to dance. Never learned any card games. And Thursday, profound dislike for vain and frivolous conversations. He's like, I never learned to dance. Oh my God. You put loose to himself. He footloose himself real hard, dude. Oh, man, that's hard to hear. He needs Kevin Bacon. He he did need Kevin Bacon. One Kevin Bacon could have. Really? And that makes me think if you had if you had Kevin Bacon and John Brown starring side by side in the first trimmers. Would have been a fun movie. That's so sad. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, yeah. His his religion's a bummer. So John later would write that his eternal war with slavery also started when he was twelve, when he came upon a young black slave boy being beaten with shovels for some minor crime, he wrote in his letter to that little kid. This brought John to reflect on the wretched, hopeless condition of fatherless and motherless slave children now. I'm sure he saw stuff like that and made it happen. When he was twelve he was writing a letter to a 12 year old. Maybe he just did a bit, but it does seem accurate to say based on why is he writing a letter to a 12 year old. Do we know? Yeah, yeah. One of his like as a as an older man, we'll get to this. He's funding like a guerrilla insurgency to try to free the slaves of the South. And he gets a bunch of rich backers and while he's like dining with one of them, this kid asks about his life and asks him to write a letter. Oh, so it's a hallmark movie, but with kind of, I mean it's more like this guy is a legally. Funding a terrorist. And the guy's kid wants to know more about the the John Brown's life. So John Brown writes him a note so we can buy more guns. Got it. So it's a lifetime movie. Yeah. Lifetime movie. OK, cool. Yeah. So Brown studied to be a pastor, but wound up not choosing that life. And it's likely that he would have been bored to tears by the work. But he remained a devoted Calvinist his entire life, following in his father's footsteps. Yeah. And he was like, he was still, like, really woke as a Calvinist. Like when his church, he learned that. Black people weren't allowed to sit at the front of the church. They had to sit in the back. He made a big point in the middle of service of getting up with his family, marching to the back, walking up to one of the black families and offering them his seat at the front of the church, and then sitting in the back with his family. So, like he's committed from the jump to to racial equality, not just to abolition, but to like, total racial equality, which ******* nobody is at this. Like most abolitionists are still pretty *******. Racist, but not John Brown. Yeah. At 20, following his dad's advice, John Brown married Diantha Lusk. Lusk. Diant lusk, yeah. Weird name. Diane. Yeah. Diane DIANTHE. Giant lusk. I don't. I don't hate it, though. No, it's it's a nice name and he describes her Diane. I like it. He describes her in his letters as remarkably plain but industrious and economical. So she's like, she wasn't a bad ***** but yeah, she's ugly. But yeah, I'm like, she has a great this is this is trash and does not pass the Bechdel test. Continue. Yeah. Wow, you're asking for too much. If you want someone to be racially and gender woke, you ******* 1830. Definitely can't have both. No way. Yeah. Their first child was born a year after they married John, your giant junior knows Owen. Come on. No, no, no. I'm. I'm getting that name wrong. I write it down somewhere later, right? Yeah. John and his father, Owen, do not sound like they would have been fun people to hang out with, but they were on the right side of the slavery debate. John Brown junior. Oh yes, a salmon. His son's. He's a Kama salmon. Holy yeah. He had some weird names. Wait, yeah, so he's a **** ton of children too. Yeah, he has 20, and more than half of them survived to adulthood. Some of them die fighting with him. But yeah, Ellen. My mom's name is Ellen. Hi, mom. She listens to our show. And there you go. So John and his dad were on the right side of the slavery debate from the beginning. Owen had been a fierce abolitionist in an era when that really wasn't the thing. He was also a pacifist. And for a time, John Brown was a pacifist too. So they fought slavery without fighting the people who kept slaves, largely by helping escaped slaves with shelter and food on their way across the Underground Railroad. So while John is a kid, he and his family are like helping to hide escaped slaves as they make their way up to Canada. So this is like a part of his life from, like, the teenage years. On when John was 21, he moved his young family to Pennsylvania and bought 200 acres of land. He built a house in a tannery on it. Now. The tannery had a hidden room, which brown used to hide escaped slaves from the South. From the mid 1820s to 1835, the Brown family hosted an estimated 2500 escaped slaves, playing a critical role in their journey to freedom. So he's a committed abolitionist and like putting his money where his mouth is his entire life. Now. While he was helping to work the Underground Railroad, John was also helping to found a new settlement. In rural Pennsylvania, he's built a school and he built a church, and he was the area's first postmaster. One of his neighbors described him as an inspired paternal ruler, controlling and providing for the circle of which he was the head. I have a question. Yeah. How is he funding all this? I mean, it doesn't take that much money. Like he he works and he like, you could buy like 200 acres was like a few bucks back then, like, because they're trying to most of this area, after the whole genocide of the Native Americans thing, there's an unspeakable amount of empty territory that the government wants people farming. So there's all these deals where you can get most of the land for free. You're basically for free. You can get a loan or there's no interest because they're they're just trying to get people farming and using it. Just to make sure it was realistic and it wasn't like an episode of friends. No, no, no. Now, as you might imagine, there were a lot of people who didn't get along with John Brown. His wife's brother was only able to visit the family on Sundays, and so John hated him because visiting on Sunday was a sin against God. John was so strict about keeping the Sabbath that his church banned all worldly conversation on that day. So you couldn't talk about anything but religion on on Sunday. Making cheese and hanging out with your friends was also forbidden on Sunday work. Yeah, it's a lame *** religion. Workers on John's tannery were required to attend his church and hold daily worship sessions with their families. One of John's apprentices described him as friendly as long as the conversation did not turn towards anything he considered profane or vulgar. Brown's younger brother described him as a king against whom there is no rising up. So wait a bit of a hard time. Say that one word, a king against whom there is no rising up. So it's basically like my way or the highway. Yeah, he is. Absolutely convinced that he's right and he will not like he's he's personable unless you disagree with him and he is not not open to being disagreed with about the things he believes. Interesting, yeah, he's that kind of guy. So again, a religious fundamentalist, kind of * **** ***** it, but also like a really dedicated family man dedicated to his community and an anti slavery crusader. So yeah. He's an interesting fella and when we come back from ads we will talk about. How he raised his kids. I love that. Be fun. I love ads too, Sophie. Products and service. I love ads. Products a good service. I don't have a fun. It's it's usually more fun when, like I say something horrible about like a bunch of kids getting murdered and then I say, you know what won't murder all your kids? Oh, these? Should we try it once? Should we try? We try a transition? I mean, I am about to talk about how what he did to his children, by the standards of the modern era, was abuse. No, it isn't one of them after my mom. Child abuse by the standards of our modern era, yeah, what isn't child abuse is the products that support this show. Wow. Brave. Hmm. 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I thought it was all going to be frustrating. It was super fast, super easy, the most convenient contact ordering experience I've ever had. So if you want $20.00 off your contacts, you can go to Slash behind that's just Or enter code behind at checkout and you'll get $20.00 off your contacts. Now obviously the simple contacts exam isn't a replacement for your periodic full eye healthcare exam, but it can make things a lot easier for you if you're in the situations I think a lot of us are in. So again, go to or enter behind at checkout for $20.00 off simple contacts. We're back, we're back. So we were just talking about John Brown the father. Now obviously like everybody was an abusive parent by modern standards in this period of time, but even by the standards of the mid and early 1800s, John Brown was considered a very strict parent. And I'm going to quote again from the book Midnight Rising. His first born John Junior was required to keep a Ledger listing his sins and detailing the punishment due. Each unfaithfulness at work earned 3 lashes. Disobeying mother brought. 8 The second born Jason had a vivid dream about petting a baby raccoon that was as kind as a kitten, and described the encounter as if it had really happened. He was three or four at the time, and his father thrashed him for telling a wicked lie. 5 year old Ruth muddled her shoes while gathering ***** willows and then fibbed about how she'd gotten wet. Her father switched me with the Willow that had caused my sin, she recalled. He's such a ********. Oh my God. Really? Yeah, **** ****. Yeah, it's ******* rough, man. Also, like Jason's kid, a vivid dream about petting a baby raccoon. Maybe? Like, no, don't try that. Yeah, well, yeah, Jason. Jason feels like a really weird name for that era. Oh yeah, no, there's a lot of jasons that's like a Bible name, right? There's probably Jason. Feels like the Bible, like a guy that hangs out at like a hip. Coffee shop and says he's working on his screenplay. Yeah, that's Jason. But he goes by Jay. You're right. You're right. You're right. OK, my apologies. Jason. Continue having vivid dreams about petting baby raccoons. So you agree he should have been beaten for that? That's good to know. Sophie is pro abusing children who dream about raccoons. I mean. He's went to. I mean, he he. Yep. It's settled. It's settled. You're on on the talk. Wasn't his best friend a squirrel? Well, yeah, but that was a real squirrel, not a dream raccoon. I mean, that we know of. I mean, nobody is friends with a squirrel. Nobody. I've been friends with the squirrel. No, you weren't. Yes, I was at my last place in LA, we hand tamed a squirrel. Anderson would feed enemy. We could even pet it briefly. We have a sworn enemy named that's a squirrel named Edward that we deal with every morning at my apartment complex. I named him. I don't. I never named our friend squirrel, but I loved her and I hope she's OK. I hope Edwards moves away. Continue. Brown apprehended 2 men he encountered on the road who were stealing apples and smashed a neighbors whiskey jug. After taking just a few sips and deciding the liquor had dangerous powers despite his severity, Brown was beloved by his children, who also recalled his many acts of tenderness. He sang hymns to them at bedtime, recited maxims from Aesop and Benjamin Franklin, and cared for his little folks when they were ill and was gentle with animals. He warmed. Frozen lambs in the family washed up. As long as they're real animals. Like what? This is very weird. He's a he's a weird guy. He's a complicated person. In like clearly is capable of being a giant **** as a parent to his kids, and is also capable of being a really loving father. He's a he's a strange guy, he's a flawed man, but all men are, and he's a child of a brutal time. You know, where people wound up rougher back then, which doesn't excuse bad **** but it was a tough time to come up. You try working from age 12 and losing your mom like you're not going to be a softie. So Diane, John's wife, died in childbirth, just like his mother. Yeah, all the Browns have wives that die in childbirth, which again, not super uncommon given the number of kids they're having. Yeah, John took this very hard, obviously, and he and his five children moved in with another family briefly. While they dealt with their grief when they returned home, John hired a housekeeper, sometimes her 16 year old sister Mary came along to help. John Brown proposed to Mary by letter several months after meeting her, and they got married in July of 1833. Beat he is 31. Nope, sorry, he is 33. So again, not that uncommon back then, but still not that uncommon, but still creepy. Yeah, a year after his wife's death, he marries a woman half his age and four years older than his oldest child. He sounds very Hollywood at this point. Well, I think it's more like, honestly, I think with him, like, it's not even like a lust thing. It's a I want to have a lot more kids. And so the younger she is, the tougher she'll be like, the more better her odds of surviving. And yeah, that she they would stay married the rest of John's life and she bore him 13 children. Mother **** yeah, and it was not an easy marriage for her. John Brown was a horrible president all the time and had to do with his grumpy, hating of imagination ***. I think actually, she would have loved to have dealt with his grumpy *** more because he was ******* gone most of the time, which we're about to talk about. Yeah, but for the early years of their biggest problem. Time well, he came back long enough to get her knock her up again. OK, so for the first years of their marriage, John was constantly on the edge of bankruptcy. He spent money as quickly as he made it, and often a lot quicker than he could make it in the story of his like life. Farming, having kids like businesses like you would start. Yeah, he would start businesses and they'd fail. So, like he had a bunch of failed businesses, he was terrible at everything to do with money. He was a good worker and like had a great work ethic, but was just awful at making money. Or like spending his money wisely. And while John struggled to get ahead economically, the United States lurched closer and closer to violence over the issue of slavery. In the year of his birth, 1800, nearly one fifth of the 5 million people in the US were enslaved. Ever since the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, the South had grown increasingly wealthy and influential. American politics. By the 1850s, all 12 of the United States's richest counties were in the South. On its own, the South was the 4th largest economy on Earth. For some perspective, the South and the 1800s was wealthier than California is today. Wow. So all of the monies in the ******* sounds like most of the political influence. Yeah, this is like, yeah, 1850s and stuff. That's crazy. They just get richer and richer. Yeah. The whole industrial revolution worldwide was driven in large part by the production of cotton. By slaves in the American S like, even down to like the countries that had banned slavery, like England, like cotton was critical for like, the building of boats and ships and like a lot of different, like, factory equipment. And it was all made possible by enslaved black people. So, like, the whole industrial revolution is undergirded by black slavery, even in the countries that didn't have slaves legal at that point, which is important to note. Yeah, now the sheer mass of money in the South, and thus behind slavery, made it impossible for most people in the 1830s. Imagine an end to the institution in 1831. As John Brown entered his 30s, the abolition movement was growing, but still firmly fringe in the context of national politics. This started to change that August, when an enslaved preacher named Nat Turner gathered up a small band of his fellow slaves and launched an insurrection. Armed with hatchets, knives, and muskets, they executed roughly 60 white Virginians and gathered a small number of slaves to their banner. Like John Brown, Nat Turner had also been born in 1800. Also, like John, he came to view himself as something of a prophet and believed that he had been chosen by God to bring about the end of slavery. Turner's ban did not just kill slaveholders. They executed women, school children and even a baby in a cradle. So Nat Turner's raid is a complicated thing to talk about morally. I was like, OK, OK, what? No, no. Yeah. These they they are they are just killing. They're killing all of the white people they come across. And in terms of. Like sort of parsing that out in a moral context, I found an interesting CBS article that interviewed Bruce Turner, who was a great, great, great grandchild of Nat Turner and Rick Francis, who's a descendant of one of the slaveholding families that Turner massacred. And I'm going to quote from that now. Both Turner and Francis are avid students of history who have researched their own families as well as the historical record of their rebellion. Anderson Cooper put the question to them both is Nat Turner a hero? Yes, he is, says Bruce Turner, because he saw an opportunity to try to correct something that was an extremely bad evil. He believes Nat Turner was a freedom fighter who started a movement that helped end the institution of slavery prior to the insurrection. Slave owners actually believe that the slaves were happy in their condition, he says. Nat Turner's changed that. Rick Francis is no defender of the horrible institution. Practiced by his forebears, but he does not see Nat Turner as a heroic figure. Francis questions whether a desire to end slavery is what motivated Turner to kill. He also points out that Nat Turner and his followers killed many women and children. They were a means to an end, says Bruce Turner. Women were slave owners, children were slave owners. And the baby in the cradle? Yeah, I mean I think what Nat Turner would say if you could bring him back and pose that question to him, is that baby would have grown up to be a slave owner almost none of the children of slave owning families grew up to repudiate. Those beliefs, it was very uncommon. And Turner's argument, I think, would have been something along the lines of they were all part of this institution and they didn't spare our children, so why should we spare theirs? You know, and. It's just like on a 60 minutes thing or something with Anderson Cooper. Yeah, I think so. I just found it in an article, but I think it was part of Anderson Cooper Show. Yeah. Shout out Anderson Cooper, the father of my dog. Yeah. It's a complicated story. The tale of Nat Turner and how you how you feel about how justified it was is a matter of your own personal morality. I feel like you can't really judge it. Like, not really thinking. I would argue that you can't judge. I don't think you can judge the actions of an enslaved person taking action against the. People who kept him in ******* no matter how terrible they seem based on the morality you get to have in a much less ****** ** era. But I'm not gonna not gonna slam my opinions on Nat Turner on the audience. We have a lot of John Brown to get through, so Nats uprising did not work out. While he eventually gathered about 40 slaves, they failed to make it to the town of Jerusalem and its Armory, which is where they were headed to try to get guns. White militiamen succeeded in scattering turners men and executing or killing most of them. Turner's insurrection inspired a vicious white reprisal, and gangs of armed whites murdered hundreds upon hundreds of black people and impaled their severed heads on road signs. As a warning to others, Turner's body was decapitated, quartered, and skinned. His skull and brain were sent off to be studied because people were like, why would a slave not want to be a slave? The fat from Turner's body was rendered into wagon wheel grease, and his skin was tanned and sent off to the families of the people killed in his raid as a souvenir. Jesus Christ, that's this is a ******* brutal time. Like, you really got to remember that whenever you try to think through these people's actions and decisions and morality is like it was. ******* rough. And, like, how do we, like, did somebody write all this down? Like, this is creepy. Yeah, they weren't they weren't ashamed of it. And like, if you're the ******* if you're the white oppressors who want, who are, who are doing, who are massacring these people and chopping up Nate's body. Like, you want all of the black people who might come across the story to know what happens when they stand up. Like that's part of how you oppress people. Yay. This would have been a great time for an ad transition. I would have been like, you know what doesn't impress people? The products. But you're early, bro. We're early. I I know. I just it would have been good. No. So prior to Nat Turner's Uprising, most abolitionists supported a slow, piecemeal emancipation of enslaved blacks and sought to basically ship them to Africa or the Caribbean. The nation of Liberia was born from this basic idea, and this is like what Abraham Lincoln and others like him kind of would have advocated in the period prior to Nat Turner. This is about the best you could hope for from woke white people, that they'd be like slavery's wrong, but we don't want them here now. After Nat Turner, abolitionists were increasingly likely to urge an immediate end to the institution of slavery. And the figurehead of this new wing of the abolitionist movement was a guy named William Lloyd Garrison, who was the editor for of a newspaper called The Liberator in Boston. Now the Liberator started publication 8 months before Turners Revolt, and Garrison's prose could a new and utterly uncompromising tone that fit in well with the era ignited by Nat Turner. Garrison had nothing but contempt for the centrists of his day and their advocacy of gradual reform, he wrote. Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm I will not equivocate. I will. That excuse. I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard. So after Turner, some stronger voices start to speak up in favor of abolitionism. I'm like, not like that. Yeah. And not like, oh, we'll do it piece by piece and, like, we'll slowly be like, no, this **** has to end. It's ******. Not like, OK, we'll transfer you to another department. None of that ********. Yeah, **** this ****. Yeah, Garrison is a **** this **** kind of guy, but he is a pacifist. He is also a pacifist. Virus. And should I not say that? No, no, no, no, no. I don't agree with everything Garrison thought about how to end slavery. But you can't fault him on a moral level. He just didn't believe in violence. And it turns out violence was the only way to end slavery. But you can't fault him for not wanting the nation to be convulsed by a bloody war. Yeah. So for a time, John Brown approached his abolitionism through the lens of Passivism, too. But in the years after Nat Turner's rebellion, the debate over slavery turned more violent. Pro slavery. Southerners saw what had happened in Virginia with Nat Turner as the culmination of their worst nightmares. The sheer number of slaves who in some areas outnumbered whites, terrified them. They believed that any talk of abolitionism deserved an immediate and violent response. In 1837, a pro slavery mob murdered Elijah Lovejoy, the abolitionist editor of what was effectively an anti slavery scene. They tossed his printing press into the Mississippi. Lovejoy had feudally armed himself in self-defense, which William Lloyd Garrison disapproved of, but which John Brown seems to have taken as something of an inspiration. At a meeting of Brown's church convened a protest Lovejoy's murder, John Brown swore a declaration here before God and the presence of these witnesses. From this time I consecrate my life to the destruction of slavery. So he takes Lovejoy's murder as a rallying call, and he's buys a gun shortly after this point. So he he's so far no weapons. Up to this point, he was like he was he was on like his dad had been a pacifist, his dad was a pacifist, he was a pacifist he didn't like. He had been a child during the War of 1812, and he had a really negative idea of soldiers because he'd seen what they did in the areas where they like bivouacked and stuff. So he was very anti violence. This starts to change after Lovejoy's murder. He starts to think maybe violence is the only way we're going to get rid of slavery. Now, Brown did not follow this declaration by joining any of the abolitionist groups in his area. Instead, he decided to turn his large family into what amounted to an abolitionist insurgent cell. John surviving children later that recalled the night he sat down with his wife and his three oldest sons. Quote, he asked us who of us were willing to make common cause with him in doing all in our power to break the laws of the wicked and pluck the spoil out of his teeth? Are you, Mary, John, Jason, and Owen, John's wife and children all prayed with him. And swore an oath to fight for slavery's defeat over the years. John would bring the rest of his enormous brood into this anti slavery pact, boys and girls included. His relationship with his sons is fascinating to me and I think this paragraph from midnight rising makes it clear why. Quote none of Brown's sons adopted their father's Orthodox faith and several openly challenged it, an apostasy that vexed him tremendously. But all seven of his unregenerate boys who survived childhood would take up arms against slavery. They held firmly to the idea that Father was right. Salmon recalled where he had LED. We were glad to follow and every one of us had the courage of his convictions. Brown's brothers in laws and other kin would also lend support to his anti slavery crusade. There was a brown family conspiracy, his eldest son said, to break the power of slavery. That's kind of bad. John's kids, yeah, none of his kids follow him in his religion. They're like, you kind of nuts on this, but like the old dudes, right about slavery, that ****** ******. They're like, they're like, listen, you know, I can't **** with you on that, but I'll get behind you on that. So. But this slavery ****? Yeah. **** I mean that. I mean, like. They're kind of right. Yeah. And it's kind of like you get the feeling from John in doing this with his family that he kind of recognizes once he commits himself to this cause that, like, I'm going to wind up breaking the law. I'm going to wind up being a terrorist. I'm going to commit a **** load of crimes. And so I I can't trust joining a group full of people that I don't know, like, it's got to just be me and my family, like, otherwise somebody's going to rat me out. He's got nepotism. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I don't know if it's nepotism. For terrorism, maybe it's just the smart way to do it. But he does commit to using his family in this way. It's like hiring somebody, you know, and not you know. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. It's like, well, we won't make more comparisons to drug dealing, but it's like what you do when you deal drugs. Now, for the first years of this crusade to end slavery, the Brown family efforts were mostly limited to helping hide the slaves. And for most people, this would have been more than enough, and in my opinion, anyone who helped to operate the Underground Railroad in that time, even in a minor. Capacity did something heroic, but just that was not enough for John Brown. He was clearly frustrated for years by his inability to strike any sort of direct blow against slavery. This was exacerbated by his constant and repeated failures at business. He wound up at the edge of bankruptcy several times and moved his family all around the new West in search of better prospects. Brown tried fur trading cattle, driving, surveying, and even breeding race horses. But by 1840 he was so broke that he could not even afford postage for his letters, and he declared bankruptcy. Man, yeah. Now. His attempts to find new work led him away from his family for months at a time, and the letters he was able to send home to his wife showed a distinct depression had gripped him. He signed unworthily yours above his name, and referred to his wife as the sharer of my poverty trials, discredit and sore afflictions. In 1941, the year after he declared bankruptcy, John's family was torn apart by a horrific bout of dysentery which killed four of his children, including his nine year old daughter Sarah and his six year old son Charles. So this is a rough ******* life. This guy lives like now. For most of the early 1840s, John spent his time trying desperately to pull his family out of the financial hole he dug them into. It wasn't until 1847 that he had meaningful contact with members of the abolition movement. That year he moved to the town of Springfield, MA, where he convinced a moneyed investor to fund a wool trading business. Brown was bad at the job, as he was bad at everything to do with money, and it failed miserably. But his time in Springfield brought him into. Contact with a huge number of freed blacks. While he was there, he met Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave and renowned speaker and writer. The two had dinner in Brown's exceedingly humble home, and during that dinner John walked Frederick through the plans that he had spent years cooking up. He unrolled a map of the Allegheny Mountains, which run from Pennsylvania and into the southeast. He pointed out that these mountains were filled with caves and natural fortresses. They were, John thought, the perfect place for an insurgent army to hide. He told Douglas he believed the mountains had been put there by God. With the emancipation of the ***** race over his dinner table, John Brown outlined an ambitious plan to use the alleghanies as a base for a guerrilla army that would raid plantations, free their slaves, and send them N to swell the ranks of his army. Now, Douglas thought this plan was stirring, but probably outside the realm of possibility. So he thought it was a good idea, but he didn't think it was going to work. But he still found himself deeply taken, and in admiration of John Brown, he described him as built for times of trouble and fitted to grapple with the flirtiest hardships. While in Springfield, Brown gained a reputation for being the exceedingly rare sort of white man who not only agitated for abolition but actually treated black people as his equals in his personal life. John Stouffer, a Harvard historian who studies the history of race in America. Says he stood apart from every other white in the historical record for his ability to burst free from the power of racism. Blacks were among his closest friends, and in some respects he felt more comfortable around blacks than he did around whites. So he's, he's a he's a you'd call him a woke dude? Yeah. He was famous. Yeah. He was kind of infamous among his fellow white people for dining with black families regularly and addressing the adults as Mr and misses. And it's a sign of how racist America was at that time. They're like, he calls them Mr my God. Like that's what we're dealing with in the broader culture at this point. Frederick Douglass. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, you don't wind up super proud of American history. When you really get into the weeds of race, you're like, Yep, kinda hard too. Oh my God. But not John Brown, so that's good. Frederick Douglass himself said that Brown, though a white gentleman, is in sympathy a black man and is deeply interested in our cause, as though his own soul had been pierced with the iron of slavery. So you'd call him a good ally as the point I'm trying to make. Yeah, yeah. In 1848, Garrett Smith, a wealthy abolitionist and another good ally, bought a huge chunk of land in northern New York and gave it away to a large group of freed slaves. He asked Brown to move there in order to help the new community get on its feet. John agreed, in part because he thought that the colony in the Adirondacks might be able to act as a subterranean passway that would effectively expand the underground railroad's capacity by several orders of magnitude. He also thought it might act as the start of a chain of fortresses for the army of abolitionists and free blacks he planned to build to raid the plantations of the South. Now, John Brown's plans here are not as impossible as they sound. He knew that even with a large guerrilla army, he could not hope to free all four million enslaved blacks, but he could cause a panic and collapse the economies in slaveholding states as a result of that panic. But unfortunately, John Brown's economic realities forced him to push this plan on hold. While he traveled to Europe to sell a huge pile of wool for his failing business, he left his long-suffering wife and children alone in the relatively primitive conditions of their New York farm. Now, we have no evidence that John Brown was physically abusive to his wife. And in fact, from the evidence we have, it seems very unlikely that he was, but it would be fair to say that theirs was not a healthy relationship. And I'm going to quote again from midnight Rising. Her frequently absent husband acknowledged the hardship she endured in an unusually tender letter in 1847, noting his follies, the very considerable difference in our age, and the fact that I sometimes chide you severely. The toll was evident to Richard Dana when he visited the Browns, Adirondack home. He described Mary, then just 35, as rather an invalid. So. He's, it's a, he's a he's a horrible husband, yeah. Now, in his defense, it's a hard time to raise a family. But he's not. He's not good at being around sometimes. I tried youth severely. Was that the quote? Yeah, yeah. He probably, probably, yeah. Yells at her or something that's being thrifty enough. Yeah, he's he scolds everybody. He's a scolding, like a yeller. I don't know. I think he was probably kind of the quiet sort of scholder, but I I don't know about that. That's just the feeling I get from him, that he was the kind of, like, quietly furious at you and that was the worst thing, but I don't know. Now Brown's tour of Europe ended as per usual, and economic disaster. He and his family were left even poorer than before. Brown returned to the farm in New York and for a time worked at helping free black people so bad at making money. He's just terrible at it. Why? I don't know. I mean, it was probably, it was hard. It was hard. It's hard to make money. It's like, you can't do anything. You can't. Like he's the dude that tries, like, every career and it's like, it's just not for me. Yeah, he's he's just bad at it. He's bad at the business aspect. He's a good worker, but he keeps trying to run businesses. He sucks at it every time. I don't know. He's a great worker. Everyone says that. But he's just **** at, like the the capitalism part of it, like selling things he's bad at, and he keeps trying to do it. Do you want to know what you're not bad at? Oh, ****. Selling things. Oh my gosh, Sophie. Nice. That was a good one. You nailed it. Nailed the ad transition? Yes. So do something. John Brown couldn't do and buy products over the Internet. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. 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Outside of New York, where John Brown labored to help build a colony for freed blacks, the ideological war over slavery had reached a fever pitch in 1850 with the implementation of the Fugitive Slave Law. Now, this law was a Craven act of political compromise by American moderates to the demands of the slaveholding states. It brutally punished anyone caught aiding a slave and mandated that all citizens helped capture escaped slaves. In 1854, another act of Congress pushed Northern abolitionists even further from the Smithsonian. Magazine quote under pressure from the South and its Democratic allies in the North, Congress opened the territories of Kansas and Nebraska to slavery under a concept called popular Sovereignty. The more northerly Nebraska was in little danger of becoming a slave state. Kansas, however, was up for grabs. Pro slavery advocates the meanest and most desperate of men, armed to the teeth with revolvers, Bowie knives, rifle, and cannon, while they are not only thoroughly organized but underpay from slaveholders, John Brown junior wrote to his father poured into Kansas from Missouri. Anti slavery settlers begged for guns. And reinforcements among the thousands of abolitionists who left their farms, workshops or schools to respond to the call where John Brown and five of his sons, Brandon himself arrived in Kansas on October 1855, driving a wagon loaded with rifles he had picked up in Ohio and Illinois determined, he said, to help defeat Satan and his legions. So this is the first time John's going to have a chance to confront slavery violently and defeat Satan and his legions. Yeah, he sure does now bleeding Kansas as the conflict. Aim to be known proved to be one of the bloodiest pre civil war chapters in America's battle over slavery. Something like 200 people were killed, but possibly hundreds more. It was also the event that launched John Brown on the path that would guarantee him several paragraphs in American history textbooks for years to come. Shortly after Brown arrived in Kansas, the pro slavery population of the state elected a legislature via a shameless electoral fraud. This body voted into Law Extreme Pro slavery regulations which among other things punish the expression of anti slavery views. Two years of hard Labor, one pro slavery editor at the time, made the goals of the slaveholding Kansans Clear quote we will continue to tar and feather, drown, lynch, and hang every white livered abolitionist who dares to pollute our soil. So these people are like, we want to extend slavery here, we're willing to fight for what we believe in, and we'll kill all of you. Weak, like, ****** abolitionist, free stater, like ********. Like we don't give a **** we'll murder you, and the government kind of just lets this happen. Because it doesn't want to **** *** the South, which is the most powerful voting bloc in the United States at the moment. Because 1800s America. Yeah, and yeah, kind of modern American somewhere was gonna say, yeah, this is America. Yeah. Now, Brown's first armed action, Kansas, occurred in defensive a group of abolitionist Kansans who held their own Congress in opposition to the pro slavery Kansan Congress. Brown's militia showed up with guns, revolvers, swords, powder and caps to defend the vote against Pro slavery Raiders from Missouri who had shut down other similar events. No enemy appeared, but in May 1856, pro slavery militiamen sacked the city of Lawrence, KS, a known abolitionist hotbed. They burned and looted and murdered their political opponents. At the same time, news reached Kansas that Charles Sumner, the most prominent abolitionist in the Senate, had been beaten nearly to death on the floor of Congress by a South Carolina congressman armed with a cane John Brown found himself in. Yeah, yeah, it's a ****** ** chapter of history, like beating him with a cane in front of people and nobody's doing anything. Yeah, I mean eventually they pulled them apart, but it was like 3 years before Sumner could retake his seat. He was so badly injured. First was horrible. Yeah, so John Brown was ****** *** at this. He was furious about the massacre in Lawrence, he was furious about what had happened to Sumner. And he was ****** more than anything that no abolitionists, none of the moderates were doing a *** **** thing about these ******* pro slavery ******** and all the violence that they were just allowed to do. For some reason he was ******. So over the course of several weeks, Brown formed his sons and a group of local volunteers. To an antislavery militia, his goal was not merely to defend abolitionists from the violence of pro slavery mobs. He wanted to take the fight to them. When one of his neighbors urged caution, Brown replied. Caution, caution. Sir, I am eternally tired of hearing the word caution. It is nothing but the word of cowardice. On May 24th John Brown and a select group of his men, including several of his sons, went on a raid across a series of farms and Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas. They dragged 5 pro slavery advocates out of their homes. In the dead of night and hacked them to death with swords. Now these are generally described as broadswords, but I've seen pictures of them and they seem to have been closer to Roman gladius. I'm sorry, what does that mean? It's like a short sword. It's a broad bladed short sword. You're welcome, listeners, because nobody knew what that meant. And the five people that did, Congrats. Now, you get different attitudes on this based on, like, who you hear it from, because this is a very brutal yeah, like he he drags these people out of their house, they're unarmed, and he murders them with ******* swords. ******* swords, yeah. So depending on who you read, you'll come to different attitudes about what exactly this sort of this counts. As Smithsonian Magazine says this, by almost any definition, the Pottawatomie killings were a terrorist act intended to sow fear. And slavery's defenders. Brown viewed slavery as a state of war against blacks, a system of torture, rape, oppression, and murder, and saw himself as a soldier in the army of the Lord against slavery, says one scholar. Kansas was Brown's trial by fire, his initiation into violence, his preparation for real war. So not every historian agrees with calling the Potawatomi massacre an act of terrorism and a piece for the National Archives. A guy named Paul Finkelman makes this argument. Kansas bleeding. Kansas, as it is known, was in the midst of a civil war between 1855 and 18. 60 about 200 men would be killed in Kansas. Not all were politically motivated, and historians disagree on what constitutes a political killing, but even the most conservative scholar of this violence finds 56 killings that were tied to slavery in politics. I think this number is low and that most of the 200 deaths were actually politically motivated and tied to slavery and bleeding Kansas. But the actual number of political killings is less important than the understanding that in Kansas there was a violent civil war being fought over slavery. Men on both sides were killed. Brown's actions are most famous because they were five killings and he strategically used. Words rather than guns, which would have alerted neighbors. This is the nature of guerrilla warfare. It is brutal and bloody, but it is not terrorism. Oh, so you use the sword because they're quiet? Yeah, exactly. And guns were allowed to **** back then. They're not quiet today. No, but I'm just louder. Yeah. So, you know, I I tend to be on the side of like. It was terrorism. I think it it probably qualifies with that. But terrorism isn't necessarily invalid. It's an act like in a guerrilla war, it's a tactic. And at that point, John and his men were outnumbered and they wanted to strike a blow and they wanted to scare the **** out of these people who've been acting with impunity. And I think they did it. But again, different people, different opinions. So the Potawatomi massacre escalated the conflict in Kansas to a new level. Pro slavery forces staged what affected to a full scale invasion of the territory. There were battles, towns were sacked and yeah, a lot of people were killed. John Brown Gandhi reputation during the fighting as a leader of cunning and skill and earned the Appalachian captain Brown. For months he fought a grinding insurgent campaign that made him a household name in much of the north. There were stories of like, he led this, like spirited defense of this town that, you know, they eventually lost, but they inflicted a lot of casualties on the enemy and like, made it really bloody for them. He successfully, like, outmaneuvered this big force of pro slavery guys and took like they surrendered to him. He took a Bowie knife from the guy in charge. So he's like, and there's stories about this, like, journalists meet him when he's out in the field and, like, write about him and his band of of guerrilla warriors and stuff. And he becomes very famous in the north. And it's, you know, it's, again, it's a brutal guerrilla War One of his sons during this point is captured and executed by pro slavery forces. Two of his sons are wounded. So it's like, it's rough, but he walks out of bleeding Kansas a national hero, really now when the violence. Kansas subsided John Brown decided to use his newfound fame to drum up support and funding to open up a new front in the war against slavery. He wrote his son Jason, a letter saying, I have only a short time to live only one death to die. And I will die of fighting for this cause. Brown now a wanted man traveled the northern states dressed in the gear of a guerrilla fighter drumming up funds and support for his war on slavery. He showed off the Bowie knife he'd taken from a pro slavery militia leader and played up the daring Doo involved in his flight from the law from the book midnight. Rising quote brandishing the captured Bowie knife strapped just above his boot, or loading a revolver as he warned of federal marshals on his trail, Brown also introduced a Frisian to the genteel parlors of New England. I should hate to spoil these carpets, he told one Boston Hostess. But, you know, I cannot be taken alive. So he plays up this reputation. He has some great, like, action hero quotes. Yeah, he really does. He's absolutely an action cool guy quotes. He's absolutely an action hero. And, yeah, he's he's a pretty. He's pretty ********. He's a ******. Like, he's pretty ******. Yeah, problematic, but ******. Problematic, but ******. Now, John spent much of the next two years, yeah, buying arms and raising funds to buy more arms, as well as working mostly unsuccessfully, to convince other white abolitionists and freed blacks to sign up to fight in the army he was raising. Gradually, he built up a network of 6 wealthy backers, all of whom were, to differing degrees, committed to the cause of ending slavery. These men, known to history as the secret six, made it possible for Brown to secure several 100. Sharps rifles, a significant number of revolvers, and eventually 500 Pikes. Now a Pike is basically a dagger at the end of a long spear, and brown planned to use these Pikes to arm freed slaves. He couldn't give them rifles right off the bat because rifles at the time were really complicated. If you had, if you didn't know how to use one. It took a lot of training to be functional with them, and he wanted to be able to arm people immediately so they had like long, like long, like sticks with like a like a like a dagger at the end. Yeah. It's less like a point, like a spearhead, and more like a literal knife. It's kind of it's kind of cool. Yeah, they called them Kansas toothpicks. It was pretty cool machetes. You know, the buoy knives are basically machetes. They had a lot of Bowie knives. Cool. But yeah. And so Brown thought, number one, like the Pikes were important, so we could have something to arm freed slaves with immediately, you know, when he wouldn't have time to train them right away. But he also felt that immediately arming freed slaves was a critical step in their emancipation, stating give a slave a Pike and you make him a man, deprive him of the means of resistance and you keep him down. So we thought this was very important on like a a level of like building morale in this army he was seeking to make. Now, obviously fleeing from the law and raising funds to form a guerrilla army did not leave much time for Brown to see his wife and family. He begged his wealthy supporters to donate money to help them make ends meet. He wrote one donor. I have no other income for their support and my wife being a good economist and a real old fashioned businesswoman, she has gone through the two past winters in our open, cold house, unfinished, outside and not plastered. So it's miserable for Mary. Yes, yeah. Mary's life is ******* trash. Like she's rough. She did not complain often, but she was clearly miserable as a result of her husband's chosen vocation. In letters to her, Brown admitted that his work had left her in a kind of widowed state. So basically, like, I'm already basically dead. Yeah. Yeah. She is abandoned. Yeah. And for the remaining years of his life, yeah, it was rare for him to spend more than a couple of days at a time with his family. In March of 1857, Mary sent John a letter informing him that their sons had committed themselves to learn and practice war no more. So she's like, she's like, sorry, really? Yeah, they're done with this ****. Like she she. She's stepping in and then I'm sure John was like, yeah, you're right, that's fine. No, he didn't do that, did he? Well, kinda. I mean, he replied that it was not at my solicitation that they engaged in it at the first. So he says, like, it it wasn't my decision that they did it. And they don't all come to fight with him after this. And he also seems to have like, felt bad after that letter. Several days later, he sent his two year old daughter Ellen a Bible and inscribed in it in remembrance of her father, whose care and attention she was deprived. Their infancy. Oh, that's really, really, really, really, really sad. Yeah, it's sad. It's sad. My mom's name is Ellen, so I feel that harder. Yeah, well, you know, it's it's one of those things. Like what do you? What do you? Like if this was like, if he if he was abandoning his family like this to make it in Hollywood, I'd be **** **** **** bro. But like, it is slavery. Like, it's the worst thing this country did. Well, tied for worst with the genocide. Like kind of worth abandoning your family over. I hate to say it like it is slavery. Yeah, yeah, like **** you know? Like. But you know it. It sucks for Ellen. It sucks for Mary. Six of John Brown's sons had fought in Kansas. As I said, one was killed, 2 wounded, and the others were pretty traumatized by the experience. But not all of them had, in fact, committed to study war no more. Owen Brown traveled with his father in 1858 as he sought final support for his impending invasion of the South. Now, by this point, Brown's plan for an insurgent war on the South had evolved, rather than taking time to establish a guerrilla army and a string of forts. He decided to assault the town of Harpers Ferry, which contained the largest Armory in the country, probably had more guns than any other place in America. Now. Brown believed that Harpers Ferry was at a defensible position, and that he'd be able to use its 100,000 firearms to train and equip the army of slaves he was sure would flock there once word of his efforts got out. In April 1858, John Brown met Harriet Tubman, who at that point had made 8 secret trips to Maryland and LED dozens of slaves to freedom. Brown was deeply impressed by Tubman, and this is like a problematic wokeness, I don't know what you call this. He referred to her as a man in all of his writings and talking of her, and he did it because he respected her so much. He said that she was naturally the most man that he had ever met. So he's he's saying this out of respect, but it's kind of problematic. It's like an 1800s. Woke compliment, but a 2019 like dude? Yeah. He also referred to her as General Tubman, which is a less problematic appellation of respect. And, you know, for her part, Harriet Tubman was equally taken with John Brown. Kate Larson, one of Tubman's biographers, says Tubman thought Brown was the greatest white man who ever lived. So he is very popular for his dedication with the, like, sort of leading figures of like, black liberation in this period of, yeah, I would say you got code. He got cosigned by Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. Yeah. Yeah. Pretty solid. That's those. Those are some pretty solid cosines. Yeah. Yeah, good. Like if you'd written a book. Good names to have on the jacket. Yeah. Now, John Brown solicited both Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman for help with his planned attack on the South. Tubman was unable to help due to illness and may have also been unwilling to help because she was worried that if it failed, it would expose the Underground Railroad. And Frederick refused because he rightly viewed the attempt as suicidal lunacy. He warned Brown that he was going into a perfect steel trap and that he would not get out alive. So Douglas clearly respects what Brown is doing, but is like, I'm just not willing to kill myself for this. I think, you know, I. And he was doing a lot of stuff. Outside of that, I think you made the right call. For sure. In May of 1858, John Brown and 35 of his followers convened in Chatham, Canada to host the Constitution. Is that hard to get to Canada? You're up in the in New England. It's right there, alright. Just seems like he's all over the place. He's like, he yeah, he travels around. I mean, it just seems like, yeah, he's moving around a lot. I mean, it just it's hard enough to travel in 2019. Well, yeah, but like you're in, if you're in Illinois, like getting up to Canada, it's like going to ******* Sacramento. From Los Angeles? Like it's not really a big deal. Like, right there. I don't like soprano. Well, I don't like Sacramento either. I'd rather be in Canada. But yeah, for sure, I'm just making a point. So in May of 1858, John Brown and 35 of his followers convened in Chatham, Canada, to host a constitutional convention in order to create a new American government. See, by this point the failures of the existing government to do anything about slavery, and a recent Supreme Court ruling that black people had no claim to the rights guaranteed by the Constitution had convinced John that a whole new government needed to be established. He basically decides our Constitution is too, like, stained by the evil of slavery to continue. And what we part of what we need to do is like, build a new country, basically. And the the foundation of new country needs to be black liberation. Yeah. So I mean, yeah, there's some weird stuff to his plans, too. He's not a perfect man. I'm sure I'm going to read a quote flawed, even though he's cosigned, but he's flawed. Yeah, he's he's flawed. He's flawed, and I think this quote from midnight Rising by Tony Horwitz makes it clear, kind of both what was neat about what he was doing there and what was a little problematic. John Brown cited this infamous ruling in his Constitution's preamble, which explained why a new government was needed to protect our persons, property, lives and liberties. But the 48 articles that followed were less concerned with rights than with the command structure of Brown's highly militarized state. The role of its weak president and Congress was mainly to advise a powerful commander-in-chief who could tap the treasury as needed for money and valuables. Captured by Honorable Warfare article, I think 25 was directed towards another preoccupation of Browns and forbade filthy conversation in decent behavior, intoxication and unlawful intercourse. The Constitution was read aloud at Chatham, debated and signed the same day. Every man was anxious to have his name at the head, wrote one of Brown's Iowa party. But the delegates showed distinctly less enthusiasm. 2 days later, when they reconvened to elect officials, the Black Men nominated for the presidency declined to stand and the post was left vacant, along with many others. Only two congressmen were appointed and the cabinet was filled by Iowa recruits. Brown, unsurprisingly, was elected by acclamation as commander-in-chief. So, so you're right. There's like, it's like, OK, and then problematic stuff in there, like filthy conversation. What did you say? Unlawful intercourse? Yeah. You see the intoxication? I wouldn't have done well. You would you would not survive. There are people who will compare John Gration. Yeah, there's people who will compare John Brown to Osama bin Laden. And it's not 100%. Obviously, what he was fighting for was better, but you're not 100% off. He was a long, bearded, uncompromising religious fundamentalist who was willing to kill for his beliefs. Now, Brown grew up poor, and again, what he was fighting about was fundamentally more moral than what would you know? And also, Brown didn't attack civilians like he he. Understood they were going to die, but he that he didn't make his target. But like, there are some parallels. He is a religious fundamentalist, and not in a fun way. No, he's the **** police. He's the **** you can't say, fox, you can't ****. And you, there's no, there's no drinking, so there's no jump around, you know? And it's it's a marker of how ****** the times are. Yeah, that John Brown is still 100% the best guy. He's still the wokest white man in the country. He's the best white guys. Also the **** police and more ways than one. 8 times I just wanna side note to to listeners. If you look up young John Brown looks a lot like Igor from Young Frankenstein. He absolutely looks like Igor from young Frankenstein to an extent. That's bizarre. Bizarre, yeah. Continue. In December of 1858, as Browns plans for an invasion of the South matured, he was suddenly presented with another opportunity to strike a blow against slavery. A Missouri slave named Jim Daniels found him in Kansas and told him that he and several other slaves were about to be sold and needed Brown's help. John gathered a force of 18 insurgents and set out from Missouri where they carried out a highly illegal raid on a farmhouse and freed 5 slaves at gunpoint. They proceeded next to another farm and freed five more slaves. A small group of Browns Raiders also broke into another home. Bringing a single slave and shooting her owner dead, the Raiders stole oxen, horses, food, clothing, and also captured 2 white hostages before they crossed back into Kansas. This sparked rage across the South, and the Governor of Missouri, as well as President Buchanan, offered rewards for Brown's capture. Many moderate abolitionists were also unhappy with Brown. They felt that invading a southern state, stealing property, and killing a slave owner was a step too far. In a letter to the New York Tribune, Brown mocked these people, pointing out that the previous May a force of pro slavery. Bushman had killed 5 anti slavery settlers in Kansas. There had been no outcry, he noted, but when he freed 11 human beings, the government and many people were, he wrote, filled with holy horror, which is a solid point. Yeah. So Brown was confronted on the road by 80 pro slavery militiamen. He had only 22 men in his band, but they charged the pro slavery forces and caused them to flee. In panic, Brown captured several horses and took more prisoners. By February of 1859, Brown had escaped Kansas, fleeing the law all the while. Succeeded in leading his group across Iowa and onto a box car headed for Chicago. The freed slaves made it from there to Detroit, where they were taken by ferry to Canada. One of the freed women gave birth along the way. She named her child John Brown. That's dope. That's a ******* dope story, right? Very, very cool. Shout out Detroit. Yeah, that. Yeah. Now, the notoriety of Brown's rate energized his backers, the secret 6, several of whom had started to wane in their enthusiasm for his cause. More money started to pour in, and Brown spent the rest of 1858 gradually moving a small force of men in a large stockpile of arms and ammo onto a small farm that he had rented in the outskirts of Harpers Ferry. The whole story of how they did this is rather fascinating, and midnight rising breaks it down in granular detail. I really recommend that that book sounds really ******* cool. It is cool, but the focus of our story today is the man, John Brown, and not the details of the attack on Harpers Ferry. The plan failed. Brown and his men succeeded in taking possession of the. Summary But they held it for less than two days. Ironically, the first fatality of the raid was a freed black man who was shot in the dark on accident. It just was a big tragedy. John's sons, Oliver and Watson, were killed during the fighting, and in fact, of the 19 men who went with Brown to Harpers Ferry, Ten were killed or fatally wounded. Four townspeople were also killed, and more than a dozen militiamen and U.S. Marines were wounded. It's the Marines who finally bring them down. Not the proudest moment in the Marine Corps history, yeah. Now, John Brown was badly injured but taken alive, and he survived long enough to stand trial. He was obviously guilty by the laws of the time, and the trial is mostly significant because it provided John with a chance to speak to the nation and justify his actions. The speech he gave before being sentenced was considered by Ralph Waldo Emerson to have been one of the greatest speeches in American history. Are you going to read it? Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Well, accidentally selection from it now had I inferred in the manner which I admit and which I admit has been fairly proved. Or I admire the truthfulness and candor of the greater portion of the witnesses who have testified in this case. Had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or on behalf of any of their friends, either Father, mother, brother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class, and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right, and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment. The Court acknowledges, as I suppose, the validity of the Law of God. I see a book kissed here, which I suppose. Be the Bible, or at least the New Testament, that teaches me that all things whatsoever that I would, that men should do to me, I should do Even so to them. It teaches me further to remember them that are in bonds as bound with them. I endeavoured to act upon that instruction. I say, I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons. I believe that to have interfered as I have done, and as I have always freely admitted I have done in behalf of his despised poor, was not wrong, but right now, if it is deemed necessary, that I should. Forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and the blood of 1,000,000 in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel and unjust enactments. I submit. So let it be done. I mean, ****. Yeah. Lifetime. There's your movie right there, baby. Come on. What the ****? Good speech. That is a good ******* speech. Yeah, and I like what he points out that like, hey, if I had done what I done for these poor black slaves. Like to about, like the children of any rich person in this country. Could be held up as a hero. Like you just don't give a **** about these people or consider them human. Like **** you. It's a good speech. Yeah, I mean. Talk about hashtag no filter, man, yeah. John Brown was executed by hanging on December 2nd, 1859. There it is. His last words. Yep, his last words, written on a scrap of paper and handed to a jailer were I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land can never be purged away, but with blood he would prove to be very right. the US Civil War would start a little more than a year later. John Brown's raid was seen by many at the time and by many historians today, as one of the primary sparks of that war. From the Smithsonian magazine quote had John Brown's raid not occurred, it is very possible that the 1860 election would have been a regular two party contest between anti slavery Republicans and Pro slavery Democrats, says City University of New York historian David Reynolds, author of John Brown, abolitionist. The Democrats would have probably won since Lincoln received just 40% of the popular vote, around one million votes less than his three opponents. While the Democrats split over slavery, Republican candidates such as William Seward were tarnished by their association with abolitionists. Lincoln at the time was regarded as one of his party's more. Conservative options. John Brown was, in effect, a hammer that shattered Lincoln's opponents into fragments, says Reynolds. Because Brown helped to disrupt the party system, Lincoln was carried to victory, which in turn led 11 states to secede from the Union. This, in turn, led to the Civil War. Yeah. So that's John Brown. So do we think that yeah his religion kind of influences no ***** given attitude because he essentially like no matter what he did on Earth as a as a living being, his fate was decided at birth. So do you think that maybe his like no ***** given attitude towards like I'm going to do risk at all but also like like do you think that had it some sort of influence on his ethos? Ideology as a human. I don't think he actually believed that aspect of Calvinism very strongly. I I get the feeling from him he doesn't act like a guy who thinks everyone around him is going to hell. But I don't know. You know, I may be wrong on that. What I'll say. I think more than anything, the reason he acts the way he does is that he is absolutely convinced about everything that he believes that he is 100% right. Yeah. And that made him probably pretty insufferable to be around. It made him a horrible *******. Horrible husband. Yeah. Not great Father, probably a very strange friend, but great abolitionist, but but a great abolitionist. And the man the only white. And who was willing to do the thing that was so clearly necessary at that point in time? Like somebody needed to go into the South and just start ******* shooting people over this stuff? Like that's what needed to happen. It's ****** ** like we don't want to things to have to go that way, but that's what had to happen. Like he was the wokest White man of the 1800s, which is. Hmm. A compliment and an insult. Yeah, it's an insult to everyone else. Yeah. But yeah, he's a remarkable person. And you can see why people as varied as like abortion clinic bombers and William Spronsen, who was, you know, outraged about the deportations by ice and the child concentration camps, why people like both of those people can see something in him inspirational. Yeah. And I, I, I go back and forth myself as to like, what would John Brown be today? Because like, obviously if he'd been like a ******** fundamentalist, you know, religious person, you might assume he would be one way. But I also kind of get the feeling of John that if he'd grown up in a different era, he might have been a fundamentalist of something else. Like this is the kind of guy. It kind of depended on how he was raised. But whatever he was, like, I don't know. I think he, I think more than anything. There were a lot of Calvinists who were slave owning ********. Like there were a lot of like like religious people like like Bible believing Christians in this. Who used it as a justification for their slavery. So I think that while he was a fundamentalist religious man, the core of what John Brown was was a respecter of human dignity and freedom and his outrage at what was being done to blacks in America. I think he would be, I think the core of his personality. Were he alive in a modern age would be outrage at injustice rather than any particular religious ideology. I do feel that about him. Yeah. I mean, I'm not sure what he would have picked. Sorry. I mean, I feel like. After hearing this entire thing, I feel like that is kind of a very accurate interpretation of him. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, very definitely heroic, definitely flawed, definitely did what was necessary, and definitely was the only one to really do it in the way he did. Yep. Yeah, and. Is it even? You know, you can be flawed, but if you're the only one doing the thing that needs to be done, that's all that really matters in the end, yeah. Yep. So that's John Brown. John ****** brown. He would be really ****** at me. Yeah, using **** so much in this episode, celebrating him. But, Oh yeah, he's the **** police. I forgot he's the **** police. But he's also dead now, so **** it. Like he's not going to get angry at me. Yeah, we did. And, you know, we don't know where he ended up because we don't know where he ended up. Yeah, yeah. **** ******* John Brown. **** ****. ****. ******* John Brown. I like it. Sophie, you got any plegables to plug? I really like this one. Show called behind the ********. And I really like this other show called worst year ever. And if you haven't listened, it could happen here yet. What are you doing? Yeah, I don't. I don't know that listeners of this show would like behind the ******** or worst year ever, but I guess they might. Yeah, I mean. I guess I have Instagram. Sophie, under score, Ray, under score, under score, sunshine. Lots of underscores. Sophie Ray of Sunshine with underscores in between the words. I post pictures of Anderson. That's where you can find pictures of Anderson and and you getting that listeners is my Christmas present to all of you. Yeah, I don't have Twitter because Robert has Twitter and Robert doesn't have Instagram because I have Instagram you. That's just how that works. Well. I love Twitter. I don't, but you can find me there. OK, yeah, you can find me not on Instagram, but you can find this podcast on Instagram or Twitter at at Bastarde pod you can find. There you can find the answer to the question of what you need to do in our trying times, if you look into the stories of men like Raoul Wallenberg and John Brown, and that's all I'm going to say on the matter. So go hug a cat, celebrate whatever holidays you do. Or don't celebrate. Or just celebrate the fact that most things are going to close down for a couple of days and we all have a chance to chill and then come back in the next year ready to **** *** take names and seize Harpers Ferry. And. Don't have dreams about petting a raccoon? Yes. I have many dreams about don't actually, do not, do not. John Brown will come back from the dead and kick your ***. If you have dreams about getting your friend, he hates that ****. Yeah, befriend a squirrel. Befriend a squirrel. Don't dream about raccoons. Except the squirrel that tortures my dog. That's an *******. Yeah, I think John Brown would have hated that squirrel, too. Anyways, happy. Uh, whatever. End of year. Uh, yeah. Yeah, go, go have fun. Drink lots of eggnog. I will. Yeah. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her impactful behavioural discoveries on chimpanzees. It wasn't until one of the chimpanzees began to lose his fear of me, but I began to really make discoveries that actually shook the scientific world. Survive on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey, it's Bobby Bones from the Bobby cast. We are Nashville's most listened to music podcast in depth interviews with your favorite country artists, plus the biggest songwriters and producers in Nashville, all from the comfort of my own home so it gets a little more laid back. They're sharing stories behind the biggest songs in country music and personal stories that you will not hear anywhere else. So if you love country music, I think you will love this podcast. Listen to the Bobby cast. On iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcast.