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The Last Slave Rebellion by Nat Turner

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Nat Turner was born on October 2, 1800, in Southampton County, Virginia. In August of 1831, Nat and six other enslaved men engaged in a violent string of murders within Southampton County. As they ventured out from homestead to homestead, they slaughtered every white individual they came across and got new recruits from among the slave population. This revolt lasted roughly twenty-four hours, and an estimated fifty-seven to sixty whites were murdered. The white population retaliated with the execution of not only the slaves involved with the revolt being executed but also random blacks in the region. Nat Turner was on the run for the next nine weeks after the rebellion. On October 31, 1831, Turner was captured by Benjamin Phipps according to a receipt given to Mr. Phipps. The Richmond Enquirer in giving the first public announcement, said “Nat displayed no sort of enterprise n his attempt to escape nor any degree of courage in resisting his captor”. Turner was taken to Jerusalem and tried on November 5th, he was quickly deemed guilty and sentenced to be hanged on Friday, November 11, 1831, twelve days after being captured.

After the revolt in Southampton County, communities and state assemblies across the South thought about the usage of new and harsher confinements against oppressed and free African Americans. Residents regularly appealed to the lawmaking bodies as they discussed corrections of existing black codes. While black codes were already in existence the white communities within the south thought that the rights and access the blacks have are still too lenient after such revolt took place. A few applicants contended for the need for increasingly stricter laws; others dissented the advance toward more noteworthy limitations of free and subjugated dark occupants. In the months following the revolt, updated slave codes were passed in various southern states, including Virginia. Governor Floyd and other conspicuous Virginians unequivocally accentuated their conviction that black ministers were in huge part in charge of urging the state’s slaves to be raucous and to revolt. Therefore, the initial two laws in the new black codes that the Virginia General Assembly passes on March of 1832 confined the exercises of enslaved and freed black evangelists. On December 6, 1831, the citizens of Northampton County, Virginia sent an appeal requesting that the free African Americans in their area be expelled. In March 1832, their request was granted. The General Assembly passed a bill that would expel various free dark individuals from the state and transport them to Liberia. This paper will illustrate the general response to the last slave rebellion by Nat Turner in the United States, and to share the stricter laws which soon followed the slaves and free blacks across the country.

Governor John Floyd the governor of Virginia, believed that the people most involved in mixing up the revolt were black ministers. Floyd shares ‘They had acquired great ascendency over the minds of their fellows, and infused all their opinions which had prepared them for the development of the final design. There was also some reason to believe, plans throughout the eastern counties; and have been the channels through which he inflammatory papers and pamphlets, brought here by the agents and emissaries from other States, have been circulated amongst our slaves.’ He strived to share the reason to why these black preachers need to be hushed, ‘because, full of ignorance, they were incapable of inculcating anything but notions of the wildest superstition, thus preparing it instruments in the hands of crafty agitators, to destroy the public tranquility.’

Governor Floyd recommended that laws be revised in a way that blacks in the state no longer can gain power so that a similar incident does not happen again. He accepted, that despite the fact that this revolt had been crafted by slaves, that the free blacks outfitted substantially more encouraging field for the tasks of the nullification component of the North, while they had opened to them progressively broadened perspectives. Floyd referred to the free blacks as “that class of the community, which our laws have hitherto treated with indulgent kindness,” also, for whom numerous cases of concern for their welfare have denoted the advancement of legislation. On the off chance that the slave who is kept by law to the enchainment of his master can work such decimation, how much simpler would it be for the free blacks to impact the people with more calamity? Floyd alluded to the way that the free blacks had set themselves in unfriendly exhibit against each measure intended to remove them from the state and brought up the issue with respect to whether the last advantage which the state may present upon them probably will not be to set a yearly cash flow to help their dismissal to another body of land.6

When the idea to transport all blacks was in question and many people tried to get a law passed banning the population the fact that transporting all blacks away would be deemed extremely difficult. This brought into play since they could not simply get rid of them what was the best way to deal with them now. As some of the farmer’s advertisement experienced lost sheep by the various dogs owned by slaves and blacks, there came a demand that the keeping of dogs and hogs by blacks be made unlawful. Culpepper made an appeal petitioning for a new law that by disallowed any slave, or free black from being bound as an apprentice to become familiar with any trading. Charles City and New Kent filed that the practice of employing blacks rather a slave or free man to be a miller be unlawful. The question of what to needs to be done with the blacks was one of the most important questions that was presented to the legislature.

William O. Goode, of Mecklenburg County desired to protect the interest of slaves. He proceeded that on the eleventh of January that the select board of trustees designated to consider the dedications bearing on slaves, free blacks and the Southampton revolt be released from all petitions. Goode later said that he was not eligible to legislate on slavery. Thomas Jefferson Randolph, of Albemarle County, aimed to report a bill to the state that all children born after the 4th of July 1840, be property of the common wealth until the age of twenty-one for males and eighteen for females. Once arrival of said year they would be hired out until the sum of what the cost to move them out of the United States equals too.

The notice sounded by a portion of these individuals is noteworthy. The Richmond Enquirer the main source to share your thought in the State communicated in a solid article that the wickedness of bondage was disturbing and asked that some clear move be made promptly since the arrangement of the issue for future people had conveyed the region to sadness. Ladies from Fluvanna County said, “We cannot conceal from ourselves that an evil is among us, which threatens to outgrow the growth and eclipse he brightness of our national blessings.” A name by the name of Brodnax, declared that the time has come “When men were found to lock their doors and open them in the morning to receive their servants to light their fires, with pistols in their hands.”

An outline of this discussion demonstrates that a couple of individuals from the lawmaking body wanted complete nullification, a majority, however, needed to work out some plan for slow liberation, and others feeling that the slaves could be constrained by serious laws, attempted to confine the expulsion of the free blacks. Citizens of Hanover wanted to lay a tax on slaves and free blacks to raise assets to extradite the black population. The deplorable improvement, in any case, was that nobody knew precisely what they wanted, nobody went to the legislature body with a well-developed arrangement to cure the past violence, and each man appeared to be administered in his activity by his local advantages instead of those of the state.

The discussion turned out to be valuable to the abolitionists on what to do with the black community. Over the span of his comments, Mr. Brodnax pronounced that the certainty of the general population appeared to be no more. ‘Under such circumstances, life becomes a burthen and it is better to seek a home in some distant realm and leave the graves of our fathers than endure so precarious a condition.’ Brodnax knew something must be done and although nothing has been set yet some plan of eradication is upon. It is important to consider all degrees of a solution for the system might be altered slightly.

No agreement of the elimination of slavery could be achieved, the topic of expelling the free black’s individuals was quite another issue. Numerous people were reluctant to talk about slavery in which did not have them themselves but did not object to the dismissal of free blacks in the state. However, there were other people who viewed this as a political exploit. The Southampton revolt was not crafted by free blacks but rather that of slaves. Just two of the many free blacks in Southampton county took action in the rebellion and these two had slave spouses. Numerous residents concurred too with a Richmond Enquirer reporter of Hanover, who is talking for the free blacks called attention to the great they had been to the community, and the Governor who in his yearly message brought up the issue is to respectability of evacuating them, said that the laws of the State had until then treated the free blacks with ‘kindness, and solicitude for their welfare’.

On the twenty-seventh of January 1832, a bill was proposed for the removal of blacks in the state. Again, in February there was a report for the removal of free blacks for the profit of the state of Virginia. Soon after Mr. Moore presented an idea making similar progress and calling upon the Senators and Representatives of Virginia in Congress to make this idea of getting rid of free blacks passed in the legislature. However, this bill was postponed and if such law was due to be passed a body of people consisting of the governor, treasurer, and members of the council were to decide where these blacks would be moved too and to what authority would be in charge of the deportation. Another effort to deal with the black population was to reinforce the black codes to a stricter more supervised set of laws on blacks. The arrangements of the bill were that slaves and free blacks ought not to lead religious activities nor go to the gatherings held during the night by white preachers except if authorization by their owners was granted. From there on no free black ought to be capable to buy possession of a slave, aside from their spouse or kids. Further punishments, were accommodated for people composing or printing anything proposed to instigate another black revolt. The State had already passed a law disallowing of slaves, free blacks to be instructed to read and write.

As a result of the uprising, the idea to change state laws were stretched out some long ways past Virginia and the South. Maryland passed a law in 1832 that removed the free blacks and sent them to Liberia. North Carolina, in which blacks voted until 1834, started in 1831 a law prohibiting free blacks from preaching, slaves from owning a house, leaving as free men, nor be armed with any type of weapon. They also collected fines of free blacks who did not obey and made in effect a law stating they could be sold. The State of Alabama enacted a law in 1832 making it illegal for any free black person to interact with the government. Slaves should not be taught how to spell, read, or write as similar to other states. Penalties were provided if blacks were writing passes or if free blacks were attempting to trade with slaves. No more than five male slaves could be assembled at once but they could, however, attend a ceremony in which is presented by a white pastor.

No person of color rather free or enslaved were allowed to preach unless they were before five slaveholders and that the black preacher must be recognized by a religious group.

Each state must comply with the introduction of new laws and procures of blacks but also the people’s perspective that had an influence on the changes coming. In many cases the state disagreed with the rebellion but the abolitionist who spoke on the topic afterwards had a different opinion. The Liberator was an abolitionists’ newspaper form Boston, Massachusetts. In an article from September 3, 1831, the author shares that this type of event is long predicted. Similar to the Greeks destroying the Turks, or the Poles exterminating the Russians, or the founding fathers of America killing the British it is the standard for an uprising to gain one’s freedom. Within this article the author doesn’t have compassion for those of who died but rejoice for this revolt has finally happened for in their mind it is a battle that is long overdue in the eyes of an abolitionist.

Another abolitionist wrote in the Worcester Spy from Massachusetts a more feel sorry story to why the black population now needs to be free from this revolt. The author shares that the way in which the slaves were treated can be seen in the retaliation during the revolt. For these people were now tired of being repressed and the savage character was brought out in the killing of the whites. This abolitionist author also share that how much longer must the enslaved be oppressed and to deprivation of freedom.

Rather it be from the state or the local population some opinion has been thrown out in the air to be discussed. As many abolitionists had the idea that this was long overdue and that the rebellion was justified due to their harassment in their life others including the government thought the opposite. In many more cases was a stricter law being proposed than that of letting the blacks be free and to gain more rights. This is can be evident for the sources available much relatively talk about the crackdown on slavery and free blacks rather than the emancipation in which some want.

It is not until the end of slavery in which some blacks gain their freedom but still then in December 1865 many black were oppressed with black codes. Although slaves and blacks still had strict laws before the rebellion after the rebellion occurred the amount increased. This system of oppression did not end until the 1960’s with the introduction of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Although the Nat Turner rebellion lasted roughly twenty-four hours this impact which made the laws change had a lasting impact on the lives of blacks. Without this revolt, the treatment and laws in place may have never been set stricter. However, because this revolt took place and the vast amounts of laws in which were passed oppressed the lives of blacks the audience can indicate the general overview for the protection of slavery and the stricter laws in which followed. Although in some cases the opposing abolitionist fought that this was overdue and this is just another reason to free the black slaves.

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