Radical abolitionist, freedom-fi ghter, and terrorist John Brown inspired literary America during his short but dramatic career as public fi gure in antebellum America. Emerging from obscurity during the violent struggle to determine whether Kansas would enter the Union as a slave or free state in 1856, John Brown captured the imagination of the Eastern intelligentsia in reports of his exploits on behalf of the Free State settlers during the chaotic summer of 1856. He was a bold guerilla fi ghter committed to ensuring that slavery did not succeed in Kansas, and prominent members of eastern emigration societies and Kansas committees were thrilled by the stories of his heroism at Blackjack and Ossawatomie and eager to entertain the Kansas veteran when he journeyed east during the winter of 1857. Men like Thomas Wentworth Higginson, abolitionist Free Church minister and future mentor to poet Emily Dickinson, was genuinely excited to meet Brown; before a Boston audience gathered to celebrate the twenty-fi fth anniversary of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society at Faneuil Hall that January, he likened Brown to a “genuine warrior of the Revolution.” 2 According to Higginson, John Brown was the “Ethan Allen, the Israel Putnam” of the day.3 He was a bold man unfl inchingly committed to liberty in Kansas, and his fearless opposition to Pro-Slavery Border Ruffi ans on remote battlefi elds thrilled attentive eastern opponents of slavery desperate for a victory against the powerful Southern slave caucus. John Brown came to represent the struggle against slavery in Kansas. He became the representative of liberty in the contested territory, and he earned the appreciation and the approbation of prominent eastern intellectuals when Kansas became a free state. As Henry Thoreau would later remark, “it was through [John Brown’s] . . . agency, far more than any other’s, that Kansas was made free” (262).