Should heroes be defined as people who say what they think when we ourselves lack the courage to say it?
There are many types of heroes in real life or in literature, but the most courageous type of all is the one who is willing to stand up and say what they believe in even when everyone else lacks the courage to do so. Many people are content to go through life following the crowd. They will themselves to believe in ideas that society says is right, even when they know in their heart it is wrong. A hero is one who is willing to give up his position in society in order to tell people what he believes is right.
The abolitionists, such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and William Lloyd Garrison, were heroes in their own time. Before the Civil War, people in all sections of the country thought that African Americans were animals and treated them as such. During the reform period of the Jacksonian era William Lloyd
Garrison began to publish his abolitionist newspaper The Liberator. In this newspaper he demanded that the African American slaves be set free immediately, without any compensation to their owners.
Because his view on slavery was against the common belief of the population he was not received well. Throughout his life he was given multiple death threats and one of his abolitionist friends was killed. Harriet Beecher Stowe was an abolitionist after Garrison’s time, but she was received in much of the same way. After the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was released, she wrote the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It was a story of a slave living in the South and the cruelty of his owner. The inhumanness of the owner caused many southerners to ban the book in anger, but at the same time it brought the terrible act of slavery to the light. Many northerners used this book as a weapon against the South’s peculiar institution.
Rudyard Kipling once wrote in his poem “If,” which said that you will be a man if you can stand up and say what you believe in when all men around you doubt you. Heroes must have the courage to risk everything they love to stand up for themselves in the face of opposition. Both William Lloyd Garrison and Harriet Beecher Stowe stood up against a society which had accepted slavery as a right. They believed that what their heart told them was right and risked everything to tell the public what they believed in. These two people have hopefully shown others to believe in themselves and what they view in their hearts.