John Brown was hanged by the State of Virginia on December 2, 1859, on the very day that Victor Hugo's letter was printed prophesying that Brown's death would result in a civil war. The predicted American Civil War would begin within 18 months and cost the lives of roughly 3% of the American population, including an extraordinary 18% of the male population of the South.
Presently, John Brown is pariah to history, labeled a radical and a terrorist, for having been judged indirectly responsible for the killing of (almost all in self-defense) fewer than 30 radicalized slavery advocates in his efforts to free African Americans from their bondage. On the other hand, the racist Abraham Lincoln, who cynically exploited John Brown's cause for political gain and who was directly responsible for the deaths of well over a million Americans, is held out this very day by Barack Obama as a role model.
That choice, from a highly educated African American who would presume to lead this country on issues of unity, should give all Americans pause.