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HIS325: African American History

March 21, 2016 | Author: | Posted in african-american studies, history

HIS325 : African American History

Under slavery , slave resistance took many different forms . Slaves were not passive observers of violations to which they were subjected by their overseers and masters . Instead , they took action to counteract the oppression , sometimes with remarkable success . This resistance was influenced by a combination of factors and led to a variety of consequences that helped shape the future history of the United States

Most commonly , slave resistance took the form of uprisings . An example can be the uprising of Nat Turner that began on August 21 , 1831 [banner_entry_middle]

Although the rebellion including eight slaves lasted for only two days the slaves had enough time to kill fifty white people (McDonald , n .d The reaction to such uprisings was death penalty , and Nat Turner was hanged together with his 16 followers . This event was proceeded by slave uprisings in Long Island in 1708 and in New York City in 1712 and conspiracies in Charleston and New York in 1740 and 1741 (University of Houston , n .d

At times , slaves would also use a more peaceful form of resistance , such as going through courts . Famous is the case of Dred Scott , a surgeon who travelled around with his master . Appealing to the local court to set him free at the time when he was a slave , Dred Scott succeeded in the court of the local jurisdiction . Unfortunately , the supreme court of the state overturned the favourable decision , ruling that he as a slave should not come to the court in the first place

Another way to resist was an escape . A fugitive slave could not count on mercy . Besides , slaves often had little knowledge of the outside territory and could not afford to venture very far on their own . The presence of an African American on one ‘s own was highly suspicious to the neighbourhood therefore , slaves found it hard to escape (McDonald n .d . Many feared the punishment that could be imposed on their families

The factors behind the resistance included the inhuman conditions on the plantations , gloomy prospects for the future , and personal hostile relationships with masters . The likelihood of violent outbreak was increased when slaves outnumbered whites , when masters were absent during periods of economic distress , and when there was a split within the ruling elite (University of Houston , n .d . The presence of a large number of slaves all brought to the area at one time also increased the likelihood of a rebellion

The slave resistance led to the formation of a rebellious spirit among many African Americans . It also contributed to the formation of a common identity as people brought to the United States from many different parts of the world fought side by side against their oppressors . Trying legal means as recourse against their white masters , African Americans were able to start developing strategies that would create for them opportunities in the mainstream society . At the same time , they learned that social justice that worked for everybody may not be as effective for… [banner_entry_footer]

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