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John Brown

W. E. B. Du Bois

Book Overview: 

It tells the story of John Brown, from his Christian rural upbringing, to his failed business ventures and finally his "blood feud" with the institution of slavery as a whole. Its moral symbolizes the significance and impact of a white abolitionist at the time, a sign of threat for white slave owners and those who believed that only blacks were behind the idea of freeing slaves. Du Bois describes Brown as a biblical character: fanatically devoted to his abolitionist cause but also a man of rigid social and moral rules. Du Bois showcases his studies on socialism and social Darwinism as well in this work, a continuation on his examination of the genealogy of blacks outlined in The Philadelphia Negro (1899) and The Souls of Black Folk (1903) that refutes the biological differences between blacks and whites. As Du Bois draws out this biographical representation of John Brown, Brown was a man who based his reasoning for fighting against slavery not on social Darwinism, but on his personal morals. -

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