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Nat Turner - Essay Example

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Summary
History is a subject which deals with the past. It tells the story of times gone with the wind based on stories which are handed down the ages verbally in the form of folk lore or stories heard from grandparents. History relies on facts and is truly distraught with interpretations, discussions, sometimes debates about the interpretations and discussions…
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Nat Turner
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Nat Turner

Download file to see previous pages... He was the property' of Benjamin Turner, a plantation owner. Nat Turner's mother and grandmother had been brought to America from Africa and hated the concept of slavery from the bottom of their hearts. Nat grew up deeply religious and intensely sharing his mother's views of slavery. He gradually believed that He was God's prophet chosen to lead his people out of slavery.
An annual solar eclipse convinced Turner that God had signaled from the Heavens above to start a revolution and with seven other of his associates or friends who were also slaves launched a rebellion. The rebellion began with the house of Nat's new master Joseph Travis. Almost 50 white people were killed. Contrary to what Nat had planned the rebellion was crushed within 48 hours and he himself was captured several days later.
Naturally this insurrection had incited public fury and led to a thousand idle exaggerated and mischevious reports' (Thomas R. Gray). It heralded the beginning of a series of upsurges of open rebellion of the slaves which eventually led to the Great Civil War. Everything was shrouded in mystery till the confession' of Nat Turner was brought to light.
Thomas R. Gray met Nat Turner in prison and recorded his account of the slave rebellion .Nat Turner was regarded as the Great Bandit'. Thomas Gray claims he found Nat willing to make a full and free confession of the origin, progress and consummation of the insurrectory movements of the slaves of which he was the contriver and head'. (Thomas Gray)
The Confessions of Nat Turner like all other confessions cannot be held to be a document of Absolute Truth. It is definitely a revelation of several facts most of which can be corroborated further but every convict even during the last confession of his life will be in fear of his captor even if faced with the gallows. Moreover, what he said has been written down by Thomas Gray in the prison cell.
Just as what Turner said may have been directed by emotion so also what was finally written may have been tainted by the writer of this confession to satiate the greatly excited public mind'. The mind is fraught with the very pertinent question did Turner voluntarily make these confessions The Confession remains a subject of intellectual debate , "both praised as a brave look into a rarely represented life, and maligned for what many saw as a clichd conception of a black man.". (NAT TURNER: A Troublesome Property, Styron 1967)
Nat Turner's rebellion marked a year that also saw the rise of the abolitionist movement, growing tensions over states' rights and the arrival of the steam locomotive.1831 proved to be a watershed year in American history (Louis P. Masur, author of 1831: Year of Eclipse). The hysterical climate that followed Turner's revolt, blacks from as far away as North Carolina were accused of being part of the insurrection and even executed. Harriet Ann Jacobs, who later escaped to freedom, describes this climate of fear and harassment in her memoirs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself.
Nat 's confessions regarding his visions were probably correct and seem to be the words of a prophet who is convinced about his convictions. He sincerely believed that the Holy Spirit which spoke to prophets of earlier times actually spoke to him. He claims unabashedly that the Spirit told him "Seed ye the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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