Nat Turner

By: Reza Razvi

Brief Biological Sketch

  • When and where born- October 2, 1800 in Southampton County, Virginia
  • Type of Upbringing- taught how to read and write, was a devout Christian who believed in signs, slave, mother and grandmother told him that he was "intended for some great purpose"
  • Influences- believed in signs- thought an eclipse was a sign to start the revolt; received visions- returned to a master he ran away from because of it; believed that he was touched by God and that God had a purpose that he needed to fulfill
  • Motivation for Actions- received a vision- "the spirit instantly appeared to me and said the serpent was loosened and Christ had laid down the yoke he had borne for the sins of men, and that I should take it on and fight the serpent."
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Defining Quote

  • "I should arise and prepare myself and slay my enemies with their own weapons."

Compare/Contrast to the Gilded Age

  • How perceived- black people were still poorly treated during the Gilded Age and didn't have equal rights with white people; his ideology would've been looked down upon, and he would have tried to gain equal rights for the blacks
  • If I had same skills what would I do- Turner was known for his ability to organize people and help them out. In fact, often times other slaves would come to him for help organizing something that they didn't want the master to know about. I would use this organizational skill to get the immigrants organized in order to protest and rally against poor working conditions, wages, inequality of the blacks, the poor treatment of women, and the nasty meatpacking industry.
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Conclusions Drawn W/ Time Period Grew Up in and Person Became

  • Being a slave, the time period that Turner grew up in was obviously quite rough. The person he turned into, someone who was a rebel, was clearly because of that fact. He wanted to free the slaves. Also, the Christian influence of the time period also had an effect on Turner, turning him into a devout Christian, which caused him to believe strongly in God, and ultimately receive influencing visions from Him.

Additional Requirements for Activist

  • His cause- lead slaves in a war for freedom and accomplish the mission given to him in a vision from God
  • Initiated Involvement/Motivation- belief in signs and visions- vision received from God telling him to "fight the serpent" and the eclipse which he believed was a signal to start the slave rebellion
  • What was accomplished- There were mostly bad things, but also a few good things accomplished from his involvement and the slave revolt. After the revolt, the slave owners got even more oppressive, prohibiting the education and assembly of slaves. Many innocent blacks were executed, and the remaining slaves were constantly threatened that if there was another revolt, they would all be executed. However, it also caused many abolitionists to realize even more the discontent of slaves and many extreme abolitionists encouraged more slave revolts.
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More Additional Requirements

  • Methods used to further cause- had trustworthy people who were close to him that helped him establish connections with other slaves in the area and outside the plantation; Turner traveled and was allowed to preach, and learned the roads and made maps when he was travelling; the rebellion actually started with him and his close group killing their slave owners and stealing weapons and horses. As they went through the countryside, killing more and more slave owners, more people joined up with them and they got more weapons and horses
  • Causes would have adopted during the Gilded Age- would've fought to help the black people get out of the sharecropping system, and probably would have sided with Web Du Bois to fight for the complete equal civil rights between blacks and whites
  • Sacrifices made for cause- paid the ultimate price for the cause- death
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