Slave uprisings occurred only rarely, but were considered very dangerous
by white Southerners, and perhaps justifiably so.
In August 1791, as a consequence of the French Revolution, the black slaves
and mulattoes on Haiti rose in revolt against the whites, and in the period
of turmoil that followed, enormous cruelties were practised by both sides.
The "Emperor" Dessalines, come to power in 1804, massacred all the whites
on the island. Haitian bloodshed became an argument to show the barbarous
nature of the Negro, a doctrine Wendell Phillips sought to combat in his
celebrated lecture on Toussaint L'Ouverture (from Uncle Tom's Cabin)
In 1822, a free Negro in South Carolina, Denmark Vesey, was exposed as fomenting
a slave rebellion by an informer. As a result, 37 Negroes were executed
and another 30 odd deported, although no overt act of rebellion had occurred
After a rising in Louisiana, 16 Negroes were decapitated, their heads left
to rot on poles along the Mississippi River as a grim warning to others.(Garraty
The Nat Turner revolt in Virginia in 1831 was the most sensational slave
uprising. 57 whites were killed before it was suppressed. (Garraty
p333). Virginia had had an active discussion about abolishing slavery
before the Nat Turner rebellion.
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