Slave Voices - REBELLION

REBELLION (Illustration) American History Biographies African American History Civil Rights Famous Historical Events Law and Politics Nineteenth Century Life Social Studies Tragedies and Triumphs Slaves and Slave Owners

Nat Turner, who led a slave rebellion in 1831, was discovered by Benjamin Phipps, as illustrated in this image by William Henry Shelton. Among other places, Shelton’s wood-engraving appears at page 321 of A Popular History of the United States (published in 1882). Online via Wikimedia Commons.


In 1831, Nat Turner led a slave rebellion in Southampton, Virginia. Blacks killed whites as they fought for freedom.

Although the uprising was only one of about 250 rebellions documented during America's slave years, many historians consider it the most important. Thirty years later, the country was at war with itself.

In assessing what caused the revolt, John Floyd (the governor of Virginia) wrote to James Hamilton (the governor of South Carolina) blaming Christians in the North, especially "peddlers" and "traders."

We read these words from the first page of Floyd's letter:

The course has been by no means a direct one - they began first, by making them religious - their conversations were of that character - telling the blacks God was no respector of persons - the black man was as good as the white - that all men were born free and equal - that they cannot serve two masters - that the white people rebelled against England to obtain freedom, so have the blacks a right to do so.

One could fairly ask this question: Doesn't the second fight for freedom (by American slaves) naturally follow from the first (by American colonists)?

One could fairly make this observation:  Given the cruelty many slaves endured, why would they not rebel?

0 Question or Comment?
click to read or comment
2 Questions 2 Ponder
click to read and respond
0 It's Awesome!
vote for your favorite

Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jun 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Mar 01, 2015

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"REBELLION" AwesomeStories.com. Jun 01, 2002. Feb 18, 2020.
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Show tooltips