A Discussion on the First Jubilee of Nat Turner’s Fierce Rebellion by Stephen B. Oates

Nat Turners rebellion was the bloodiest slave revolt in Southern history. and it had a profound and irrevocable impact on the destinies of Southern whites and blacks alike. Nat Turner lived in Southampton County, which is in Virginia. In Southampton County, there were many slaves. The masters of these slaves believed that the Negroes were not in any danger because they were well treated. The African Americans did get very enthusiastic about their praise meetings, in a way the whites did not understand, but the whites still believed that they were harmless. Also, white evangelists started coming in from outside the county and exhorting equality at local revivals. Again, the whites believed that their slaves were no danger, and besides a few solitary incidents there was no danger to them. However, all was not as calm as it appeared.

On August 22, 1831, a band of slave rebels led by a black mystic called Nat Turner attacked With guns and axe In the bloodiest slave revolt in Southern history, This sent Virginia, and most of the South, into paroxysms of fear and racial Violence, Nat Turner was generally considered harmless, although he was intelligent and spoke of strange religious powers. Turner was accepted as a Baptist priest in the black community, even though he was never ordained. He had a Wife, Cherry, also a young slave however, he was separated from her Turner was a perceptive man and had an extensive knowledge of the Bible. Turner had decided that God would give him a sign when it was time to start the revolt.

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There was an eclipse of the sun in 1831, and Turner prepared to rebel. Before the rebellion, Turner told four slaves that he completely trusted about the rebellion. Their names were Hark, Henry, Nelson, and Sam. They made so many plans that Turner fell sick and the rebellion did not occur. On August 13, there was another sign an atmospheric disturbance made the sun grow dim and it changed colors. A black spot was seen and for Turner, it was unmistakable proof that God wanted him to move. With two new recruits Jack and Will, they made plans on August 21. They decided to rise that night and kill all the white people. All the white people included everyone men, women and children. They would only have the seven of them so that word would not leak out. Turner hoped that other slaves would lOIH them on the way. First, they went to the Travis house and killed four whites.

Later they remembered the baby and went back to kill it. After his legal owner was killed (Putnam Moore), Turner felt that he was truly free. The rebels took farm after farm by surprise. At Elizabeth Turner’s house, Nat Turner could not bring himself to kill Mrs. Newsome, Elizabeth Turners neighbor. He did kill young Margaret Whitehead at the next house. She was the only person he killed. Soon, Turner had forty recruits. and some blacks were forced to come along as if they were hostages. Turner stationed himself at the rear of his army and did not participate in any killings, By Monday, the rebels had killed 60 whites and sacked 15 homesteads. However, some slaves had already escaped or deserted, were to drunk to fight, and many of the muskets were too rusty to fire, On the way back from the Parker farm, the rebels met an armed party of 18 whites and attacked them.

Reinforcements soon came for the whites, and some of the African Americans fell wounded, including some of Turners best men. and some of his men fled. Express riders carrying the alarm rapidly spread the news of the revolt, By Tuesday morning, Turner only had 20 blacks and he did not know what to do because whites were everywhere. They set out for Simon Blunts farm to get volunteers and rode into an ambush. Turner escaped alone . the rest were captured or killed. A manhunt was soon under way, and many blacks. espemally free blacks, were killed. There was widespread hysteria among the whites and many false reports were spread. Governor Floyd, the governor of Virginia, did all he could to reassure the public and stop the hysteria. Turner managed to elude white patrols for 2 months, There were various rewards totaling $11,000 for him. Beniamin Phipps accidentally discovered him and he was taken to stand trial. Thomas Gray came to Turners cell to take down and publish a confession from Turner that would tell the public the truth about why the rebellion happened.

Turner gave a voluntary and authentic confession over three days for Gray. Turner was sentenced and hung on November 11. In total, 18 blacks were convicted and hanged, Ten others were convtcted and transported outside of the US, The Southern whites blamed the rebellions on the northern whites inciting the African Americans, Emancipation was discussed widely, but most decided colonization of blacks was too complicated and costly to carry out. They instead restricted blacks so stringently that they could never mount another rebellion. Gone were the slave schools, religious meetings. and preachers. The Great Reaction followed this. The Great Reaction was a slave-based civilization that believed in the positive good of slavery. For whites. Nat Turners name became a symbol of fear, terror and violent retribution. For African Americans, Nat Turners name symbolized the legendary black hero who broke his chains and murdered white people because slavery had murdered Negroes. To the African American community, he stood for legal rights and freedom.

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A Discussion on the First Jubilee of Nat Turner’s Fierce Rebellion by Stephen B. Oates. (2023, May 20). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/a-discussion-on-the-first-jubilee-of-nat-turners-fierce-rebellion-by-stephen-b-oates/