Account for the Lack of Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South.

In: Historical Events

Submitted By Speedybro
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According to some historians, the lack of slave rebellions were caused by the fact that slaves were being treated reasonably well and that they were content with their position. For example Fogel and Engerman suggested that the treatment of slaves by their owners was “rational” and “economic” and that living standards were as high as Northern industrial workers. However, very few historians agree with them. Many historians conclude that the lack of slave rebellions were because of the brutality and control of the slave owners. Historian Alan Farmer argues that; “firm discipline seemed to have been the rule”. I agree with the arguments of Farmer and other historians who suggest that slaves were so repressed and demoralised that they were not able to organise a slave rebellion.
In August 1831 in Southampton County, Virginia, Nat Turner lead one of the most significant slave rebellions. It lasted barely 24 hours and involved around 70 slaves. Turner and his gang of slaves began a killing spree and proceeded to slaughter around 60 white people, many of which were in fact women and children. Eventually, Turner and a total of 55 slaves were captured and executed. Some of the slaves who faced execution were never actually involved in the revolt. This act of brutality was to reinforce the “natural order” and to send a message to every slave. This shows that the white slave owners were able and willing to exercise their power, in order the quench any feelings of rebellion by filling slaves with fear. Following the Nat Turner revolt many Southern states passed multiple laws making the liberation of slaves much more difficult. Abolitionist literature was also prevented from circulating the plantations of the South and the punishment for anyone caught spreading such pieces of literature among black slave was death in some Southern states. This shows the limited effect that…...

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