Nat Turner: Right or Wrong? (We had to read up on the case of Nat Turner's Rebellion and decide whether her was right or wrong, and argue our points)

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Nat Turner was a slave in the county of Southampton, Virginia. In 1831, he headed an insurrection against the whites, leading several slaves in a bloody massacre that lasted just over 24 hours. The men traveled from house to house in Southampton, slaughtering the people in each house and at various points gaining new rebels and building the numbers for his cause. It easy to see why this incident was met with such horror. Nat Turner and his men were not only responsible for the deaths of white male planters, but also their helpless wives and, in many cases, their infant children. It is very difficult to say whether or not Turner was right to do what he did, but in order to make a judgment one way or another one must examine both the short-term repercussions of the incident as well as the long-term consequences. After having examined these things, I come to the conclusion that Nat Turner was essentially wrong to do what he did.

One major point that many people make when arguing that Turner was right to do what he did is that his rebellion would have sparked abolitionist sentiments in the whites and may possibly have sped up the advent of emancipation in the long run. However there is no evidence to this end, indeed there is more evidence to suggest the opposite. Emancipation was a trend that was spread over the colonies and not peculiar to just one place, and it is doubtful that a rebellion of 30 slaves could have had a huge impact on its occurrence. In The Confessions of Nat Turner and Related Documents, edited by Kenneth S. Greenburg, are printed several documents by anti-abolitionists. These men use Turner's violence to their advantage, making him seem insane and suggesting this as...