The American Civil War was a struggle for power between the northern and southern states of the country. The controversy was over states rights, mainly if a state could decide whether slavery was legal. There are many events that contributed to the start of this conflict but one of the most important influencers of the war occurred thirty and even forty years prior. Nat Turner’s Rebellion was one of the largest slave revolts in United States history and had a lasting impact on the discussion of slavery within the country.
The killing of prominent white slave owners and their families created fear within the South and influenced the severe slave laws that were enforced in its aftermath. Nat Turner’s Rebellion showed the slave supporting South that a slave revolt was possible. The idea that the Southern stream of income, slavery, could potentially at risk prompted the South to tighten its reigns around the need to protect their legal right to own slaves.
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On October 2, 1800, Nathaniel “Nat” Turner, was born into a life of slavery on a plantation in Southhampton County, In his early childhood days, Nat was given access to privilege that most slaves would have never dreamed of. He was allowed obtain a proper education, where he was taught how to read, write and most importantly the word of God. While growing up Nat that God had a plan “I surely would be a prophet, as the Lord had shewn me things that had happened before my birth” (Gary). It seems that his grandmother, who was very religious had a great impact on him. As a slave, he moved from owner to owner and even at one time ran from his owner. As time went on Nat’s relationship with God grew stronger constantly reading the bible and he would often take things from the bible and apply it to his life. Turner was the designated preacher to the other slaves, during his sermons he would often tell them to fight for justice, seek self-respect and to rebel if they wanted to free. But on one day Turner experienced a vision, his first vision occurred while working in the fields.
He states, “I saw white spirits and black spirits engaged in battle” (Gary). With more and more visions, Turner started to began understand his purpose and that was the ending of slavery. On February 1831, Nat saw the solar eclipse and took it as a sign to to rise up and rebel. He started to recruit many other slaves to help him during his rebellion and a few months later, on August 21, 1831 Turner and and his supporters began the revolt against white slave owners. They started off by killing the his owner and his entire family. Word went around about what Turner and his 6 other supports did so others slaves saw this heroic acts and decided to help. 40 to 50 other slaves came along to join Turner as they went from town to town killing owners