…..John Brown, who had declared himself to be a communist, had organized terrorist attacks in Kansas which included the murder of entire families who did not own slaves, and the murder of free black men. “Perhaps most appalling,” writes Fleming, “were the murders of James P. Doyle and his two oldest sons, while Doyle’s wife, Mahala, pleaded frantically for their lives . . . . The Doyles were immigrants from Tennessee who . . . had no interest in owning slaves.” Brown claimed that his purpose was “to strike terror into the hearts of the proslavery people.” He planned even larger acts of terrorism at Harpers’ Ferry in 1859 where he was apprehended by U.S. Marines led by Colonel Robert E. Lee, and he was hanged for his crimes.
Fleming discusses in great detail how John Brown came to replace Jesus Christ in the minds of Northern abolitionists, who adopted his mantra that blood must shed in order to eradicate sin. That is, if they were to be saved and sent to Heaven, there must be bloodshed, and the more the better. That is why peaceful emancipation was not achieved in America, writes Fleming: It was not stubborn and evil Southern plantation owners who were the problem, it was the bloodthirsty abolitionists.
John Brown “descended from Puritans” and was “the personification of a Puritan,” says Fleming. And he truly became a “god” to the New England “Yankees.” “Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed awe and near-worship of John Brown,” writes Fleming.
He lavished praise on John Brown’s “religion of violence.” Emerson called Brown “that new saint” who “would make the gallows as glorious as the cross.” Henry David Thoreau said that “Brown was Jesus.”
He was “the bravest and humanest man in the country,” said Thoreau with horribly clunky English. He described Brown in that way after learning of Brown’s execution of non-slaveowning, innocents in front of their wives and children. These men were clearly crazy, and their writings must have contributed a great deal to the “disease in the public mind.”
The abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison was also a John Brown worshipper. As a typical New England Yankee Garrison possessed “the prevailing attitude” of New Englanders in that “they were inclined to believe in the moral depravity of anyone who disagreed with them,” and had “an almost total lack of empathy” for their fellow countrymen in other parts of the country. This, says Fleming, was “a flaw that permeated the New England view of the rest of America.”
An abolitionist compatriot of Garrison’s named Henry C. Wright declared tht Jesus Christ was a “dead failure” for allowing slavery to exist, and insisted that “John Brown would be a power far more efficient” than Christ. Armed with such beliefs, Garrison and comrades waged a decades-long campaign of hatred against all Southerners. Their newspapers broadcast for decades that the South was “a province ruled by Satan” and was guilty of “four unforgiveable sins: violence, drunkenness, laziness, and sexual depravity.” “From Richmond to New Orleans, the Southern states are one great Sodom,” wrote one New England publication. Fleming writes that such frantic “theological somersaults” were strikingly similar to “the public frenzy that gripped Massachusetts during the witch trials . . .” And some people wonder why Southerners in 1861 no longer wanted to be part of a union that included New England Yankees.
Thomas Fleming has discovered historical truths that Clyde Wilson long ago wrote about. In an essay entitled “The Yankee Problem in American History” Wilson pointed out that “by Yankee I do not mean everybody from north of the Potomac and Ohio. Lots of them have always been good folks.” He, like others before him, used “the term [Yankee] historically to designate that peculiar ethnic group descended from New Englanders, who can be easily…………….