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"The world needed John Brown and John Brown came, and time will do him justice." Frederick Douglass (1886)

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How History Professors Mislead People: The Case of Joseph C. Morton vs. John Brown

According to the byline of his recent article in the Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, Ill.), Joseph C. Morton is professor emeritus at Northeastern Illinois University and author of numerous articles and books on American political history.  I have most readily found two of his books on Amazon.com, Shapers of the Great Debate at the Constitutional Convention of 1787: A Biographical Dictionary (Greenwood Press, 2005), and The American Revolution (Greenwood Press, 2003).

Unlike the inevitable John Brown-hating bloggers and journalists who periodically contaminate the internet with ignorant, unstudied, and bigoted articles about John Brown, I believe that Prof. Morton, a scholar and expert on early U.S. history, probably intended to contribute a popular and useful article in remembrance of Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, 151 years ago.  His piece appeared on the 18th under the awkward title, “John Brown forfeit his life to end slavery.”   Unfortunately, Prof. Morton’s’ article, although thoughtful at points, suffers from errors of fact as well as bias. 

[The complete entry is available only in the forthcoming book, John Brown: Emancipator]

1 comment:

James said...

An excellent piece. Very well argued.
I wonder if you made any attempt to contact Professor Morton to enlighten him about the inaccuracies in his article?