Nat Turner Rebellion Analysis

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“Nat Turner is asked, “Do you not find yourself mistaken now?” and he answered “Was not Christ crucified.”

This excerpt is from The Confessions of Nat Turner. Being interviewed by Thomas R. Gray, Nat Turner reveals the nature of the rebellion. Turner was captured on October 30, 1831, after eluding capture for two months after leading one of the deadliest revolts in American history during the morning of August 31, 1831. The rebellion was suppressed in one day but remains iconic. What makes it iconic, is the leader Nat Turner himself. Nat Turner as an individual represents a peculiar story. Turner learned how to read and write which was an exception among slaves. Turner ultimately used his skills to immerse himself in the bible. By learning
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In his Confessions, Turner speaks about his childhood and his religious beginnings were influenced by his family and masters. Oates’ narrative of Turner explores his childhood in-depth and this is important in understanding how Turner became immersed in religion and became able to utilize it in his uprising. One inspirational figure, in particular, is his grandmother, “who regaled the boy with slave tales and stories from the Bible.” At a young age, Turner was exposed to the Methodist ways which emphasized free will and individual salvation. A motive behind the rebellion could have been fueled by Methodism beliefs. The role of his masters’ is important to explore as well. Master Benjamin not only approved of Nat’s literacy but encouraged him to study the Bible. He began taking the boy to prayer meetings, where he sat at the back of the chapel with the other slaves.” However, with the death of Master Benjamin, his son Master Samuel “understood that Christianity could be used not merely to save heathen souls, but to keep the slaves from striking back or running off as Nat’s father had done.” Did Turner know this? In order to understand Turner’s motives and the use of religion in the uprising, it is important to analyze his childhood but it seems that Turner was destined to be a

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