the fire (Edited).docx - Kevin Leahy T.A.H Fall 2011...

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Kevin Leahy T.A.H. Fall 2011 Stephen B. Oates, The Fires Of Jubilee: Nat Turner's Fierce Rebellion , New York, NY: Harper Perennial, 1990 (1975). 181pages. ISBN 0-06-091670-2 In Fires of Jubilee: Nat Turner's Fierce Rebellion , noted Civil War Historian Stephen B. Oates, Author of With Malice towards None: A life Of Abraham Lincoln, The Approaching Fury: 1820-1861and let the Trumpet Sound: A life Of Martin Luther King Jr. tells the story of the Southampton County, Virginia slave revolt which occurred in August of 1831 and which is known in American History as Nat Turner's Rebellion. Oates believes that Nat Turner's bloody rebellion and the savage reprisals that followed shattered beyond repair the myth of the benign master and contented slave and intensified the forces of change that would lead to bloodbath of the Civil War. “I hoped to convey how the insurrection shocked the slave south to its foundations, exacerbated sectional tensions and pointed the way to the Civil War thirty years later.” “He is the most famous slave insurgent in American history, the victim of a violent system who struck back with retributive violence. His rebellion illustrates a profound truth. “Nat Turner reminds us that oppression is a kind of violence which pays in coins of its own minting and that individuals and systems always reap what they sow.” (page ix) This focus on the resulting reaction to Turners rebellion by the slaveholding South forms a large section of the history and would seem to be the major theme of the book. The first part of the book begins with Oates thorough biography of both Southampton County Virginia in the early 1800's and of Nat Turner's life during that time entitled This Infernal Spirit of Slavery . “When I wrote this biography of Nat, I tried to tell his story with empathy and accuracy. I wanted to transport readers back to Nat's time so that they might suffer with him and see the world of slavery and the Old South through his eyes.” The Southampton County that Nat was born in and portrayed in The Fires of Jubilee was a place where the majority of slave owners were small or medium sized farmers who owned small amounts of slaves. “By Southern white standards, enlightened benevolence did exist in Southampton County – and it existed in the rest of the state as well. Virginians liked to boast that slavery was not as harsh in the Old Dominion as it was on the brutal cotton plantations in the Deep South.” Oates states that “Virginians convinced themselves that all was sweetness and sunshine in their master-slave

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