After work.” (Newman). Because whites were either

After North America was colonized by the British, the colonists needed to grow crops for a supply of food and wealth.  The white colonists were unable to farm their large plantations alone, and enslaved Africans were used as a way to farm plantations for cash crops such as tobacco.  Slaves were captured from Africa and shipped to America under harsh conditions.  Their natural rights were denied, and many slaves rebelled.  Some free blacks and whites in the North felt strongly in opposition of slavery, and made an effort to abolish it.  Many slaves began slave rebellions and abolitionists acted against slavery in both violent and nonviolent protests.In 1831, Nat Turner led a large slave rebellion, killing between 55 and 65 whites in Virginia.  Later in 1859, white abolitionist John Brown directed free whites, blacks, and slaves to raid the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry.  Turner’s uprising sparked apprehension in slave owners, which increased and harshened slave restrictions.  Brown’s raid angered southerners, causing rising tension between the North and South and influenced Southern states to finally secede.     Slavery started being used in the British colonies as early as 1619.  Captured Africans were shipped to the colonies and were used as a way to farm cash crops.  Slaves were “…treated as property and… bought and sold with no chance of being free from their owner…Most whites proved entirely unsuited for this labor, in part because they were unused to such hot and humid weather conditions and in part because they flat out refused to do such work.” (Newman).  Because whites were either unable of or did not want to farm their plantations, suitable laborers were needed.  Although indentured servants were initially used, African Americans were used as a more permanent institution.  They were bought and sold as property and had limited, if any, human rights.After establishing slavery, those enslaved across the United States took action against it any way possible.  Many ran away from plantations, while some rebelled.  Those who rebelled were often caught, but after Nat Turner’s rebellion, slaves were caught and white slave owners believed slaves needed to be more harshly restricted to prevent further rebellion.  Slaves were believed to be dangerous to whites.  Slaves could resist in many ways, “One means of resistance was to obstruct the work process on the slave owner’s farm or place of business. Slaves secretly slowed their pace of work, abused farm animals, pretended illness, broke tools, and stole crops. In more desperate efforts they poisoned slaveholders, burned storehouses, escaped, and staged violent revolts…” (Sonia).  The harsher conditions became, the more they would resist the intentions of their holders and try to break free.  Resistances like this led to slave uprisings, including Nat Turner’s rebellion.In Northern states, slavery was less needed and used, and many people were against it.  There were abolitionist movements against slavery performed by whites and free African Americans.  Nearing the Civil War, “…slavery had geographically split the country, with the Southern states relying on it heavily while many of the Northern states abolished it or passed laws to phase it out…The advent of a vocal and controversial abolition movement in the North only heightened Southern fears of a plot to destroy slavery and the South’s political power.” (Newman).  There were differing opinions of slavery in the Northern and Southern states.  Northern states had less use for slavery because of industrialization.  They began passing laws to remove the institution.  One of many abolitionist movements to end slavery was John Brown’s raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry in Virginia.  Movements such as the raid led to fear in the South of the North destroying slavery.First, Nat Turner’s rebellion led to increased and harshened slave restrictions in the South.  Slave owners were worried their slaves would rebel as Turner had, so they restricted them in numerous ways.  Mrs. Enoch Louis Lowe was a white citizen living in Virginia at the time of Turner’s rebellion, who was alarmed for months after the rebellion.  Lowe wrote an autobiography of her life living in Virginia, and mentioned her feelings after Nat Turner’s slave insurrection, “There had been a ‘rising’ of the Negroes in North Hampton… The spirit of revolt spread throughout the Eastern Shore and in a County without police protecting we were at the mercy of the slaves.  The demon of massacre was at our door and the dread of terrible torture was maddening.  This condition of fear was followed by months of unrest.” (Autobiography of Mrs. Enoch Louis Lowe).  Mrs. Lowe was living in Virginia at the time of Turner’s rebellion, who demonstrates the fear of Southern whites after the rebellion.  Slave owners were terrified that more slaves would rebel.  Because of the worry of owners, whites believed that slaves needed to be stopped.  Slaves and free African Americans were more heavily and harshly restricted from their natural rights.Following the rebellion, acts were passed restricting slaves, free blacks, and mulattos from some previously exercised rights.  At an 1832 General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, acts were passed placing laws on these minorities, saying “If any person shall hereafter write, print, or cause to be written or printed, any book, pamphlet, or other writing, advising persons of color within this state to make insurrection, or to rebel,… such person, if a slave, free negro or mulatto, shall, on conviction before any justice of the peace, be punished, for the first offence with stripes, at the discretion of the said justice, not exceeding thirty-nine lashes; and for the second offence, shall be deemed guilty of felony, and on due conviction, shall be punished with death without benefit of clergy…”. (Acts Passed at Virginia General Assembly).  These laws restrict anyone from advising slaves to rebel in writing or printing, and the punishment for a slave, free black, or mulatto for doing so is whipping or even death.  That made it so slaves would not be inspired to rebel as in Turner’s rebellion, further enslaving them.  The acts passed also restricted slaves from having meetings of any kind to plan rebellions.Afterwards, white slave owners were alarmed by the power of slaves to rebel as they had in Nat Turner’s rebellion.  That apprehension led them to believe that slaves needed to be restricted even more harshly.  The book “Aftermath of Nat Turner’s Insurrection” describes the effects of Turner’s rebellion on society.  Citizens were scared for their lives, “There were rumors to the effect that Nat Turner was everywhere at the same time. People returned home before twilight, barricaded themselves in their homes, kept watch during the night, or abandoned their homes for centers where armed force was adequate to their protection” (Cromwell, 214).  People were afraid to go outside at night after the rebellion, and some even felt unsafe in their own homes.  Whites, especially slave owners, were worried that slaves were a threat to them.  The rebellion “…terrified white Southerners and led to increased restrictions on African Americans, both slave and free, living in the South.” (Nat Turner’s Rebellion, James Baker).  Feeling threatened, white slave owners believed that slaves should be restricted from their little previous rights.  The General Assembly that made new laws for each state was made up of white men who took these beliefs and restricted slaves more harshly.Almost thirty years after Turner’s rebellion, white abolitionist John Brown led a raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.  The raid raised tensions between the North and South in the time leading up to the American Civil War.  Southern newspapers wrote just months after the raid of their anger at the North.  A Wilmington newspaper, The Daily Herald, wrote of John Brown’s raid on December 5, 1859.  The raid was described as murder, and the North is blamed, “Why is this thing done? Why is murder and rapine committed? — And who are the perpetrators? — The answer is found in the fact, that the State whose territory has thus been invaded, is a Southern State in which the institution of slavery exists according to the law and the gospel; and the actors in the terrible drama were but carrying out the precepts and teachings of our Northern brethren.” (Daily Herald 1859).  The Daily Herald, based in Wilmington, North Carolina, was a Southern newspaper, writing about the arsenal raid only months after it occurred.  Describing the raid as a “murder and rapine”, the newspaper shows an obvious bias towards slavery and against the North.  The writer of the newspaper is enraged by the North teaching abolitionists to carry out such measures as a raid to invade the slavery intertwined South.In reaction to the raid, the South and Virginia in particular felt threatened by the North.  At the Virginia General Assembly in 1859, delegate James L. Kemper made a threat towards the North, “All Virginia will stand forth as one man and say to fanaticism… whenever you advance a hostile foot upon our soil, we will welcome you with bloody hands and hospitable graves” (Kemper).  Kemper was a delegate from Virginia at the assembly, and he felt threatened by the raid.  Referring to the raid as a “hostile foot”, Kemper responded with an aggressive welcoming to Northerners to Virginia.  The raid frightened Virginians and the Virginians responded with rudeness and aggression.  The interchange between the North and Virginia increased tensions between the two.The raid separated the North and South further apart and they were ready to fight.  Brown’s raid “…ensured ‘that North and South were standing in battle array.’  ‘If John Brown did not end the war that ended slavery,’ proclaimed Frederick Douglass, ‘he did at least begin the war that ended slavery.’ (Frye, “John Brown’s Smoldering Spark”).  Northern abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, believed that while the raid did not end the battle over slavery, it began the war against it.  The North and South were even further divided because of the raid, and were ready to fight.  Tensions between the divided country rose as a result of the raid on Harpers Ferry. Brown’s raid also made Southerners believe that secession was necessary to solve the struggles between the North and South over slavery.  After the raid, the South believed that the North wanted John Brown to raid the arsenal, “Not surprisingly, Brown’s raid heightened the sense of threat in the South, where many concluded the North approved his behavior, and that secession was the only viable solution to the great struggle over the future of slavery.” (“Harpers Ferry Raid”).  After the raid, the South believed that the North approved of Brown’s violent raid.  The South felt threatened by the North and secession was considered the best solution to stop the North from ridding the country of slavery by acts of protest such as the raid.Next, Brown’s raid influenced South Carolina to secede from the Union about a year after its occurrence.  South Carolina acknowledges the raid in its declaration of secession, “…the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.” (South Carolina Declaration of Secession).  South Carolina was the first state in the United States to secede from the Union.  Many different actions and events had led up to their secession, Brown’s raid being a major factor.  The state’s declaration of secession directly connected their reasoning for secession to insurrection in Virginia, referring to the raid.  South Carolina’s secession gave way to other states seceding.The Harpers Ferry raid separated the North and South further and it led to the South’s secession.  After Brown’s raid, “North and South drew even farther apart from each other. John Brown and his Harpers Ferry raid are often referred to as the match that lit the fuse on the powder keg of secession and civil war.” (History Net, “John Brown”).  The raid pushed the North and South away from one another.  It gave way to Southern states, such as South Carolina, to secede.  It can be compared to a powder keg fuse being lit to explode.  After only a year, South Carolina seceded from the Union, which would be the keg going off.Shortly after Turner’s rebellion, there were almost immediate increased slave codes in the South.  Because of those slave codes, slaves felt more restricted and had more need to rebel to escape their conditions.  Turner’s rebellion “…encouraged others to make a bid for freedom, and the next few years saw a number of plots and small uprisings throughout the South. At the same time, slave owners clamped down with brutal new restrictions… Such measures outraged more moderate whites and added fuel to the antislavery movement.” (Nat Turner, UXL Biographies).  Some slaves heard of Nat Turner’s rebellion and were inspired to rebel while slave owners restricted them increasingly harshly.  The difficult changes in restrictions on slavery influenced moderate whites to turn towards abolitionists.  The rebellion influenced more slaves to rebel and strengthened white abolitionist movements.Secondly, Brown’s raid made the South believe the North wanted to kill slave owners, and encouraged abolitionists to strive to end slavery.  After the raid, “Many in the abolition movement painted Brown as a martyr, convincing many Southerners that abolitionists wished to commit genocide on white slave owners. Among abolitionists, Brown served as an inspiration to strive ever harder to abolish “the peculiar institution.” (John Brown).  The Southerners were convinced that Northerners wanted to kill all slave owners because they thought Brown was unrightfully killed for his beliefs.  Abolitionists were encouraged to work hard to end slavery because John Brown sacrificed his life for the cause.After many years, Nat Turner’s rebellion was ultimately a strong rebellion leading to the Civil War.  Throughout the existence of slavery, “…In the antebellum South (the slaveholding southern states from about 1810 to the start of the American Civil War in 1861) rebellions were a constant threat to slave owners… The South became an armed camp where practically every white person, adult or child, feared violent rebellion, and because of this allowed even fewer human rights to the slaves.” (Slave Rebellions).  The South became fearful of their slaves and were unsure of what to do, so they restricted them.  Even with more restrictions, many slaves still rebelled out of inspiration from Turner.  The Southern fear increased due to the rebellion, which was a leading cause for the Civil War.  The South was afraid of what the North or their slaves would do next, such as rebelling as Nat Turner had.Along with Turner’s rebellion, John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry was a significant factor to the American Civil War.  The raid dramatically increased the weary and fearful attitude of the South directed at the North.  After the raid, “…Southerners worried that the federal government would fail to protect them from further aggression by abolitionists—or, worse, might tacitly support the abolitionists’ cause.” (Introduction to the Civil War).  The main reason for the war was the South’s fear of the North and abolitionists such as Brown.  The South’s fear towards the North began the Civil War, as the war started about a year after the raid.  In conclusion, Nat Turner’s rebellion, a slave rebellion, and John Brown’s raid, led by a white abolitionist, were significant contributing factors to the American Civil War.  Turner’s rebellion led to increased slave restrictions in the South and fear of slaves.  Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry increased tensions between the North and South, and then influenced Southern states to secede.  With increased pressure to end slavery from the rebellions and abolitionists threatening Southern states with violence, the Civil War was inevitable.


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