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The Slave Rebellion

The slave rebellion led by slave Nat Turner was a major change in relations between slaves and masters, creating a new fear on the part of the masters about what the slaves might do and so leading to more repressive measures taken against the slaves as a form of protection. Based on accounts from the period, it would seem that the white population was truly surprised at the resentment in the slave population and did not at all understand why this should be so. The slavers learned a lesson from the revolt, but not the right lesson. They did not see a need to do away with slavery or even to modify its conduct, except to make it more onerous on the slaves themselves. The seeds of revolt were clearly sown by the slave-owning population itself, and those same people did not see human trafficking as an offense and so did not change their behavior. By that time, they were themselves enslaved by an economic system that demanded cheap labor and from which they could not escape any more than could the slaves. The slaves saw no other way to make their grievances known, and they lacked the power to affect the way plantation society was formed and did business.

In the course of the nineteenth century, the European powers, especially Britain, turned against the slave trade and sought to stamp it out. In Britain, the slave trade was abolished in 1807 in the reign of King George III, the same king the colonies had fought in the American Revolution (Delderfield 112-113). This only ended British participation and in time would lead to active British efforts to stamp out the trade, but the real end of the African slave trade would not come until it had been eliminated in the New World as well. There is a popular conception regarding the cause of the Civil War, that the war was fought over the issue of slavery and that the North was battling to free the slaves. In fact, while there were some in the North who desperately wanted an end to sl...

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The Slave Rebellion. (2009, April 13). In Retrieved 20:36, November 28, 2015, from