Case Of Religious Fanaticism At Harper's Ferry Book Report

Length: 4 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Mythology - Religion Type: Book Report Paper: #21044463 Related Topics: Autobiographical, Conformity, Religious, Great Compromise
Excerpt from Book Report :

Midnight Rising

Religious beliefs were the sustaining platform for the positions on slavery of both Robert E. Lee and John Brown, although both men were compelled in disparate directions as a result of their faith. John Brown's Calvinist background shaped his perceptions about the sinfulness of slavery and his strict upbringing led him to believe that the sinful practice slavery would only be won through relentless battle. Robert E. Lee was raised an Episcopalian, a variable that supported his belief that slavery would exist until God ended the practice.

The nineteenth century male, as he might be characterized in a reductionist fashion, was the officially ordained head of his household, who was most likely to be spending considerable time away from the home -- in the corrupt realm of public enterprise. Decision-making was the purview of males, which naturally included standards for commerce, politics, civic roles, and home life. Life in the states at the time of Brown's birth, for instance, crawled at a pre-industrial pace -- a pace that would pick up markedly by 1859 when industrial growth and expansion of cultivated land placed a premium on slaves. Horowitz described "a vibrant market" for slaves who were sold to Southern plantation owners (16). A pervasive thread running through the fabric of nineteenth century life was a resolute conviction that religion must function as the hub around which all other aspects of life revolve. The issue of slavery was considered to be in complete conformity with the nineteenth century male perspective -- a perspective that was absolutely dyadic depending largely on, at least in the United States, upon one's geographic...


Indeed, the lives and times of Robert E. Lee and John Brown serve well as illustration of this North-South dynamic. Hearing of the watershed deal call ed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 -- which would become the platform for the 30-year "dtente [sic] over slavery's spread," -- Thomas Jefferson was said to have remarked, "This momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror" (Horowitz 15).

The rule of law in John Brown's life was "hard work and strict piety" (Horowitz 10) and it was conditioned by the idea of being a servant leader. Brown's father relocated many times -- as did Brown as an adult -- striving to find a place where he was needed and could fit in. At the tender age of five, Brown's family traveled by oxcart to live in a "godly settlement" in northeast Ohio where communities that held to a Congregationalist creed were established (Horowitz 11). Brown's own life trajectory was presaged in his father's words at the time, "I came with the determination to build up and be a help in the seport [sic] of religion and civil order" (Horowitz 10). Brown's father was a formidable presence in his life -- surviving two wives and marrying a third -- whose code was piety and hard work, but also chastisement and punishment for sin. His religious training taken to heart, for a time Brown studied to be a minister, becoming a "firm believer in the divine authority of the Bible" (Horowitz 11). That Brown was unafraid of committing himself pell-mell and full tilt to an endeavor -- whether work or a cause -- is evident; he was so "ambitious to perform the full labor of a man" that, at twelve years of age, he single-handedly drove a herd of his father's cattle one hundred miles (Horowitz 11).

Robert E. Lee's convictions regarding slavery were decidedly those…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Horwitz, Tony. Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War. New York, NY: Henry Hold & Company. 2011.

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