Relationship to Other Events
Unlike some earlier slave revolts, Nat Turner’s Revolt caused a major change in the government. State governments tightened their slavery laws in direct response to this event. The ability of one man to cause a substantial change in government in regard to slavery inspired other abolitionists to work towards ending slavery as well.
Many of these abolitionists turned to less violent methods to bring slavery to an end.
- Harriet Tubman helped thousands of slaves escape to the free North by the Underground Railroad. She avoided bringing public attention to her work, because it would have subverted her efforts.
- William Lloyd Garrison began publishing his anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator, in January 1831, just eight months before Nat Turner’s Revolt. In the paper, Garrison wrote of the event:
- Slave owners actually blamed Garrison’s newspaper for inciting slave violence, even though most slaves couldn’t read and there was no evidence that Nat Turner ever read The Liberator.
- Frederick Douglass escaped slavery and relied on his intellect to persuade others to join the abolitionist cause. Inspired by Garrison’s The Liberator, Douglass published his own anti-slavery newspaper named North Star. He used North Star to further the rights of all oppressed people, including women. The publication lasted from 1847 until it was shut down in 1874.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe also turned to literature to spread abolitionist views. In 1852 she published the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. That novel told the horrible story of life as a slave, and was used as an anti-slavery tool. It became the second best-selling book of the 1800s, only following the Bible.
The first step of the earthquake, which is ultimately to shake down the fabric of oppression, leaving not one stone upon the other, has been made.