Slave Rebellions

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"Slave owners had the right to beat, whip, brand, or imprison slaves for petty offenses or for attempted escape. Owners vied with each other in creating imaginative punishments, as historian Kenneth M. Stampp relates: A Maryland tobacco grower forced a hand [slave] to eat the worms he failed to pick off tobacco leaves. A Mississippian gave a runaway a wretched time by requiring him to sit at the table and eat his evening meal with the white family. A Louisiana planter humiliated disobedient male field-hands by giving them "women's work" such as washing clothes, by dressing them in women's clothing, and by exhibiting them on a scaffold wearing a red flannel cap" (Streissguth 13). How did slaves react to the cruel treatment of slave owners? The severe actions of slave owners towards their slaves led to several revolts and rebellions. Of all the slave revolts, one of the most notorious and successful was the Nat Turner Slave Rebellion of 1831.

Before the Civil War, an abundant amount of slaves lived a life with harsh labor and treatment. The living conditions of slaves resulted in several revolts against slave owners. All the slave rebellions resulted in the capturing of the slaves and hanging them, or cruel punishments such as being whipped or branded. "Most plantation slave's actions were typically short-range, direct attempts to deal immediately with their material environment: to fill his hunger, ease his fatigue, or to get revenge on an overseer or master" (Mullin 36). Slave owners had advantages over slaves because they had almost no hope of escaping. "A countless number of slaves were psychologically unprepared, believing that the whites were unbeatable" (Bisson 59). Also, slaves were not familiar with the places they were living in, and could often be betrayed by fellow slaves that they confided in. Although the slaves had little assurance in escaping or rebelling, they did anyways. "Runaway slaves were widely advertised in newspapers, and masters would...
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