Southampton County Rebellion Analysis Essay

Southampton County Rebellion Analysis Essay

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Nat Turner’s Rebellion also known as the Southampton County Rebellion or the Southampton Insurrection, was a revolt led by Nat Turner and fellow slaves in 1831. It is remembered as one of a handful of antebellum slave revolts that profoundly changed the attitudes of white Americans toward slavery, and may, in fact, have had the most significant lasting impact on the politics of slavery and on the way slavery is remembered as an institution in American cultural memory. The rebellion itself lasted no more than two days, but the effects resulted in laws being passed restricting education and religious affairs for black slaves, as well as the tightening of militia efforts to prevent another uprising. The change in mindset over slavery between the North and the South can be seen as one of the pivotal causes for disagreement and results of the Civil War.
Nat Turner was born into slavery on October 2nd 1800, in Southampton County Virginia. As a young child he was seen as very bright and intelligent and was able to read by age four, something unusual for slaves let alone his age. Like most slaves, he had little freedom, was forced to work long grueling hours and faced punishment constantly for the minutest issue. In his twenties, Turner was a spiritual leader among his fellow slaves, and many people, including his mother and grandmother, believed that he had been chosen by God to do great things. Turner began to have a series of visions from God and spirits telling him to prepare for an uprising and that he enact judgment upon those who oppressed him and fellow slaves. In February 1831, a solar eclipse seemed to Turner to be the sign he was waiting for, and he began preparations for an insurrection. He met with fellow slave...


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... forward. To say that Nat Turner’s decisions set in motion this extraordinary series of events is not entirely correct—it is not difficult to imagine the Civil War happening even without Turner’s rebellion having ever taken place, after all—but certainly the insurrection itself and its aftermath helped sharpen the lines that separated those who supported slavery from those who opposed it.



Works Cited

Danver, Steven L. Revolts, Protests, Demonstrations, and Rebellions in American History: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2011.

Irons, Charles. Origins of Proslavery Christianity: White and Black Evangelicals in Colonial and Antebellum Virginia. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008.

Wood, Maren L. and Walbert, David. Nat Turner’s Rebellion. http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-newnation/4574 (accessed January 10, 2013).

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