I'll counter the above with this
A recent podcast done at the Gilder Lehrman Institute by historian David Reynolds
At eight o'clock on Sunday evening, October 16, 1859, abolitionist John Brown led a party of twenty-one men into the town of Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in an attempt to free slaves. The plan soon went awry. Brown was found guilty of treason, conspiracy, and murder, and was sentenced to die on the gallows. Click on the link below to read the address he gave at his sentencing:
David Reynolds, Distinguished Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center, reassesses the legacy of John Brown, who was hanged for his role in the October 1859 raid on the federal armory at Harper’s Ferry. Brown, a devout Calvinist possessing unshakable integrity and faith in the righteousness of his violent actions against slavery, was the only abolitionist in the years before the Civil War to live among blacks, advocate a rewritten constitution that would make slaves citizens, and ultimately to take up arms and give his life for the abolitionist cause.
A biography from the Kansas Historical Association
John Brown: May 9, 1800 - December 2, 1859, Of all the characters that played significant roles on the Kansas stage during the drama that was Bleeding Kansas, none left a legacy that compares to the controversial abolitionist, John Brown. Born in Connecticut in 1800, "Old" John Brown was only fifty-five years old when he followed his sons to Kansas just as the struggle for control of the territory was taking shape. The family settled in rural Franklin County, just southwest of Osawatomie, the home of the Rev. Samuel and Florella Adair, Brown's half-sister.
John Brown absorbed a deep hatred for the institution of slavery early in life, eventually dedicated his life to its eradication, and quickly made his presence known during the Kansas struggle. He was involved in or responsible for the "Wakarusa war" at Lawrence, the Pottawatomie Massacre, the battles of Black Jack and Osawatomie, and the liberation of dozens of slaves from nearby Missouri.
After leaving Kansas for the last time early in 1859, the crusade continued; Brown, with several of his sons and other followers, planned and conducted the ill-fated raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He was tried and convicted on conspiracy, treason, and murder charges stemming from this incident and was executed on December 2, 1859.
This almost mythic figure in the history of Kansas and the nation still elicits emotional reactions from students, scholars, and the general population, and history has not always been kind to this complex personality. To some of his contemporaries, Brown was a maniacal, bloodthirsty old fanatic. To many others, black and white, he was a martyred saint. He was "a moral Genius," according to a prominent late-nineteenth-century Kansan, whose life and death "brought about the abolition of slave labor years before" it would have otherwise occurred. "No man whose name appears in the annals of Kansas can begin to stand beside John Brown."