Nat Turner's Rebellion

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Nat Turner was a black man born in Virginia on a plantation owned by Benjamin Turner where he was instructed on how to read and write and taught religion. He was sold three times and eventually hired out to John Travis where he became a fiery preacher, claiming he was chosen by God to free his people. During an eclipse in 1831, Nat Turner believed he had received a sign from God that he should kill the slave owners with their own weapons. He enlisted the help of four other slaves and together on August 21, 1831 they killed the entire Travis family, stole firearms and horses, enlisted the help of many more slaves, and killed approximately 51 more white people. Turner was eventually captured and hung along with 16 of his followers. This incident …show more content…
Slaves would resist in many way, including disabling machinery, destroying crops, stealing livestock and food, and running way. However, the type of resistance discussed in this piece was a revolt or rebellion. There are more than 250 documented slave rebellions of this time, all of which included at least 10 slaves murdering white people and fleeing. The rebellions of this time led to the prohibition of the movement, assembly, and education of slaves in the south. However, the Virginia legislature argued that in order to prevent further rebellions, slavery should be abolished. Although the state voted to continue with slavery, this was only one of the first of many arguments for ending slavery. (, n.d.)
Frederick Douglass was an African-American born into slavery in 1818. He was sold many times in his young age but eventually landed in Baltimore, MD where he stayed for a while and taught himself to read and write. He escaped in 1838 and began a career in writing. In 1852, Douglass was asked to give a speech to the Ladies Anti-Slavery Society in Rochester, NY. In this speech, he refers to the Fourth of July celebrations from the day before and explores the constitutional and values-based arguments against slave trade in the U.S. (Hubschman, n.d.) The purpose of this speech was to suggest that the positive American values such as liberty, citizenship, and freedom were a slap in the face to enslaved people.
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During this time, slavery was the cause of major conflicts between the North and South and would eventually be a leading cause of the Civil War. The federal support of slavery radicalized opinions, even among conservatives. No longer did a compromise seem possible. Opposition the Fugitive Slave Act was growing dramatically which sparked many states to pass personal-liberty laws, much to the dismay of southerners. In 1854, the Republican Party was established dedicated to keeping slavery from of the territories. Although not abolished for ten more years, the creation of the Republic Party and its coalition of anti-slavery interest proved to be a crucial factor in ending slavery for good. (Norton, 2015)
Each of these primary sources relate to slavery in their own way. Nat Turner’s Rebellion refers to the slave rebellions which saw a rise in the 1930s. Frederick Douglass’ Fourth of July Oration referred to the political side and the hypocrisy of Constitution and Declaration of Independence in regards to enslaved African-Americans. Both Nat Turner and Frederick Douglass gained great fame during their time, however, for different reasons. Turner gained fame for leading one of the greatest slave revolts in history and Douglass gained fame for becoming a free, educated black speaker, author, and leader. These pieces directly reflect their abhorrence of slavery and the reasons that each were hailed as great antislavery heroes

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