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North Carolina and The Nat Turner Slave Rebellion: Whites and their Beloved Enemies

A common defense of slavery in the United States prior to the Civil War was a “patriarchal” one. Slave holders argued that slaves were simply part of the family, and that slavery was a system of both love and honor for both the master and the slave. Slave rebellions in the United States created a large divide between the reality of slavery and the logic behind the patriarchal argument. The reaction to Nat Turner’s rebellion in North Carolina demonstrates the contrasting ideology held by a majority of whites across the South. After the Nat Turner rebellion, residents of North Carolina demonstrated that slaves were not beloved members of the family, but instead were seen as enemies that could strike at any minute.


Miles Farthing