Anti-slavery rebellions were typical throughout American history, and Nat Turner’s insurrection is one of them. The event took place in Virginia in 1831, when a group of black-skinned individuals killed more than 50 people. Oates (1975) focuses on the given rebellion in his book, The Fires of Jubilee: Nat Turner’s Fierce Rebellion. The book comprehensively analyzes the event, but the essay will consider how the North responded to the revolt. Thus, the paper will show that the North’s reaction was contradictory.
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On the one hand, the North supported the rebellion ideologically. It refers to the fact that the anti-slavery movement was developed in the region. Moreover, some northern abolitionists insisted that the slaves should have been emancipated because black-skinned individuals deserved “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (Oates, 1975, p. 129). That is why it is not a surprise that multiple representatives of the South blamed these abolitionists responsible for the revolt.
On the other hand, it is impossible to state that the whole North was sympathetic to Nat Turner and his rebels. For example, some northern press resources condemned the insurrection and even “promised Northern military assistance if Virginia needed it” (Oates, 1975, p. 134). It happened because white supremacists represented a significant portion of the Northern population, meaning that these individuals did not want to abolish slavery.
Nat Turner’s rebellion is a significant event for the anti-slavery movement. Even though it took place in Virginia, a Southern state, it is rational to focus on the North’s reaction to the event. It is so because the region responded ambiguously to the revolt. On the one hand, the North supported Nat Turner’s insurrection since an anti-slavery movement was widespread in the region. On the other hand, white supremacists also lived in the North, and they castigated the revolt. Since the opposing opinions existed, it is good that the abolitionist movement turned more successful.
Oates, S. B. (1975). The fires of jubilee: Nat Turner’s fierce rebellion. HarperCollins e-Books.