Nat Turner's and Frederick Douglass' Views on Slavery

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Nat Turner became a southern slave from Virginia in the early 1800’s. Nat Turner wanted to learn, so his master helped him how to read and write. He became a religious servant for his god. In 1831, Nat’s rebellion occurred and resulted in the death of approximately fifty white men. Thomas R. Gray, recorded his alleged confession. Even though Thomas R. Gray was supposed to be his legal advisor, he turned the recorded confession into a white southern slave proprietor. Thomas R. Gray should have used the recording to defend Nat turner to prove that he was incompetent. The principle argument Nat Turner made for the reason for the rebellion, was that god sent him to do it to start the uprising of slaves for the greater good. He truly believed that he was chosen for a great purpose. He planned his revolt carefully and for a long time. He believed that the sun eclipse was his signal from god to begin. He began by killing Joseph Tavis, his master, and his relatives. Nat Turner was found guilty of murder and conspiracy, and was sentenced to death by hanging. (Turner,2006)

Many southern slaves in the early 1800’s, attempted to resist their oppression. They began to steal food, plants, and not work as hard when their masters were not around watching them. Some slaves even tried running away to the Northern states, looking for freedom. Others before Nat Turner had tried to rebel. Denmark Vesey, a former slave from the Caribbean started a rebellion. Denmark Vesey and about 30 of his supporters were sentenced to death. (Turner, 2006) (Norton, 2015) Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. His mother was a slave, but died when he was young. Frederick Douglass was taught by his master’s wife. Frederick Douglass ran to the North seeking freedom, and ended up in New York City. In 1843, Frederick Douglass joined the Yankee Anti-Slavery Society. July 4, 1852, he gave one of his most famous speech. He pointed out the hypocrisy of claiming to have a loose and simple society. He scolded Congress for passing the Fugitive Slave Act. (Douglass, 2009)

As Douglass gave his speech, several well-known freedmen had come to be Abolitionist. This included, Henry Bibb, and Sojourner Truth. They used public speaking and writing to strengthen their cause. They started colleges, churches, and other vital establishments. The Fugitive Slave Act, pushed many slaves to run to Canada because the North was not safe and the feared slave hunters. Frederick Douglass’s writing and speeches against slavery and the Fugitive Slave Act inspired others, both white and blacks, to stand up against slavery. (Norton, 2015)

Both, Nat Turner and Frederick Douglass, shared the same views when it came to the subject of slavery but they also had differences when getting their views across. Both men were born into slavery. Nat Turner remained a slave until his hanging, while Fredrick Douglass fled to the North to be free. Both men had a hunger for learning. Nat Turner was felt that god sent him to complete that task, Fredrick Douglass’s ideas and speech were inspired by Congrees passing the Fugitive Slave Act. Nat Turner was concerned about the slaves in Virginia, whereas, Fredrick Douglass wanted freedom for all slaves in the United States. Nat Turner was violent, where on the other hand, Fredrick Douglass was peaceful and used his words to get his point across. Both were inspiring in their own way and made their mark in history.

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