What impact did slave rebellions have on attitudes toward slavery?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The major impact that slave rebellions had on attitudes towards slavery was to harden them and to make Southerners more apt to support slavery and to oppose efforts to free slaves or to improve the conditions of slavery.

Slave rebellions filled Southerners with fear.  The rebellions made Southerners fear that their lives could be taken by discontented slaves.  The fact that some rebellions included free blacks worried whites as well.  These things made them think that they only way to preserve their own safety was to make slaves too afraid and timid to try to rebel and to prevent the number of free blacks from getting higher.  This led to harsher laws governing slaves in, for example, the time after Nat Turner's rebellion.

Later rebellions did also harden the attitudes of Northern abolitionists.  They made abolitionists even more certain that slavery was a great evil since slaves were willing to kill and be killed to try to end it.

In these ways, slave rebellions did not change minds about slavery.  They simply made people more certain of the opinions they already held.

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