Foreshadowing the Civil War

Nat-TurnerThink of the historic sites we have visited over this trip that interpreted events before the Civil War (St. Mary’s City, Nat Turner, Jamestown, Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown) and choose the site that best explained why the Civil War was fought.

Jacob –Jamestown, Nat Turner’s Revolt, and the life of Patrick Henry all portray the rising tensions that eventually led to the outbreak of war in 1861. The Jamestown settlement taught us how the necessity for slave labor came about in early American history. We learned that Patrick Henry avoided the question of slavery, admonishing it in word but also owning slaves at the same time. Finally, Nat Turner’s revolt proved (if it had not been proven many times before) that slavery angered and oppressed the African American people, and it showed that African-Americans could think rationally and act like real people, though these actions were ruthless. It exemplified the growth of tension in America as a result of slavery.

George– Nat Turner’s revolt depicts the hatred that slaves had developed for their slave owners over the course of their years as slaves. The slaves however should have worked to see if there was a way to defeat their slave owners without using violence. In the same way that Martin Luther King Jr. once did to provide all African Americans civil rights.

Donovan- The civil war occurred because of the fight between enslaving and freeing African Americans. There are many other factors that led to the Civil War, but slavery was the main one. I believe the one that best explains why the civil war was fought was Nat Turner. Yesterday, we met with Khalifah and he described Turner as a heroic figure. He organized an army of slaves and killed slave owners, even their wives and children. Turner was an example of a slave at his breaking point.

Zach- I think that Nat Turner’s Revolt showed that the African-American slaves were done with the hard work they endured daily and showed the power of a union of slaves who stored hatred towards their master. Little did Nat Turner know, only about 30 years later, the Civil War would be fought for the abolition of slavery. Nat Turner and his fellow slaves all just wanted freedom, exactly one of the things the North was fighting for.

Paul: I believe that Patrick Henry helped explain why the civil war was started and fought. First, while he was antislavery, he still explained how without slaves he could not maintain his lifestyle. Due to this dependence, he further explained how he was unable to leave the institution of slavery. In addition, Henry argues that the institution of slavery causes the oppressor to inflict self harm since he will be forced to preform actions of abuse on slaves against his will. Overall, Henry provides insight on the slavery during the colonial times.

Robert: Based on my experiences this past week, Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown most clearly describes the mindset that entered the country into a civil war. Patrick Henry was a slaveholder throughout his habitance of Scotchtown, but the group learned that he considered slavery itself to be (in a rough quotation) to be a “abominable institution” and that he kept slaves because of how convenient they are. This proves that even in the early days of the nation, before sectional rifts and feuds deepened in the 19th century, patriotic Southern plantation owners could not bring themselves to reject slavery. Later, their morals would not be changed, no matter the efforts of the abolitionists from the north.

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