What is the Nat Turner revolt in African-American History?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nat Turner’s revolt (or rebellion or insurrection) was the bloodiest slave rebellion in the history of the United States.  Although Turner and his people did manage to kill a lot of white people, their rebellion failed to do slaves any good.  In fact, it contributed to making whites crack down more firmly on slaves.

Nat Turner’s rebellion took place over a couple of days in August of 1831.  It was sparked by Nat Turner, who was a religious leader among slaves in his area.  Turner felt that God had called him to act like Moses and lead his people out of slavery.  The rebellion took place in Southampton County, Virginia.  It led to the deaths of somewhere in the area of 60 white people. 

Although Turner meant to lead his people out of slavery, the revolt had no such effect.  Instead, it caused whites to crack down harder on their slaves.  It ended any talk of emancipation.  It also moved the Virginia legislature to pass laws that did things like prohibiting anyone from teaching blacks to read and prohibiting blacks from holding religious meetings without white people present.

Thus, Turner’s rebellion was an instance of extreme resistance to slavery, albeit one which actually made slavery somewhat more oppressive.

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