John Brown Today

"What Was John Brown Like?" A Biographer's Deep Dive

December 20, 2020 Louis DeCaro Jr. Season 1 Episode 8
John Brown Today
"What Was John Brown Like?" A Biographer's Deep Dive
Show Notes Chapter Markers

In this episode, Lou takes a "deep dive" on understanding John Brown as a person, from describing his physical and personality traits to an extended discussion about Brown's religious views and his inclination to take up for the underdog.  Arguing that Brown certainly is different from popular portrayals, Lou unpacks a biographer's perspective on "the Old Man" that challenges some conventional notions and introduces new insights to a man that is typically misrepresented as unbalanced, angry, and deeply violent.  This is a marathon, but one worth running.  Interested listeners can find many of the themes discussed here in Lou's compact but substantive study, John Brown: The Cost of Freedom (2007).

His physical appearance
His personality
"Ever the pensioner of hope"
Kossuth and Brown's optimism
Kansas and Brown's optimism
Brown's theology: hoping in providence
A young parent, a harsh disciplinarian
Brown's Protestantism: law and grace
John Brown and the anachronism of "social justice"
"An Old Testament Christian"?
A "pedestrian" Calvinist
A Plan of Union church boy
Guelzo's glop
A postmillenialist
Slavery as a spiritual abomination
Chasing away the clergy
Other personal traits
Fond of music and kids, too
"Blow ye the trumpet, blow"
The jailer's kid loved him
Toss and Jack
The anti-bully
Not the only failed businessman
An expert and a humanitarian
Douglass' last word