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dc.contributor.authorBreen, Patrick H.
dc.description.abstractIn 1831, Nat Turner led a revolt in Southampton County, Virginia. The revolt itself lasted little more than a day before it was suppressed by whites from the area. Many people died during the revolt, including the largest number of white casualties in any single slave revolt in the history of the United States. After the revolt was suppressed, Nat Turner himself remained at-large for more than two months. When he was captured, Nat Turner was interviewed by whites and this confession was eventually published by a local lawyer, Thomas R. Gray. Because of the number of whites killed and the remarkable nature of the Confessions, the revolt has remained the most prominent revolt in American history. Despite the prominence of the revolt, no full length critical history of the revolt has been written since 1937. This dissertation presents a new history of the revolt, paying careful attention to the dynamic of the revolt itself and what the revolt suggests about authority and power in Southampton County. The revolt was a challenge to the power of the slaveholders, but the crisis that ensued revealed many other deep divisions within Southampton’s society. Rebels who challenged white authority did not win universal support from the local slaves, suggesting that disagreements within the black community existed about how they should respond to the oppression of slavery. At the same time, the crisis following the rebellion revealed divisions within white society. Many whites in Southampton County advocated a brutal and often indiscriminate retribution against slaves; others—including most of the prominent leaders in the county—worked to limit the reprisals against slaves. In the end, the crisis ended as the county’s acknowledged leaders reasserted control, both by suppressing the rebels and by quashing the efforts of whites to retaliate against slaves in a way that threatened the property of Southampton’s slaveholders.
dc.subjectNat Turner
dc.subjectSlave Resistance
dc.subjectSouthampton County
dc.subjectSouthampton Insurrection
dc.subjectThe Confessions of Nat Turner
dc.subjectThomas R. Gray
dc.titleNat Turner's revolt
dc.title.alternativerebellion and response in Southampton County, Virginia
dc.description.advisorEmory M. Thomas
dc.description.committeeEmory M. Thomas
dc.description.committeeRobert A. Pratt
dc.description.committeeJames C. Cobb
dc.description.committeeMichael P. Winship

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