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Download ✓ The Fires of Jubilee Nat Turner's Fierce Rebellion Í PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ö The bloody slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in Virginia in 1831 and the savage reprisals that followed shattered beyond repair the myth of the contented slaOcial conditions that produced it and the legacy it left A classic now newly reissued for the first time in than twenty years here is the dramatic re creation of the turbulent period that marked a crucial turning point in America's histor. Oates goes on a tour of Southampton County in an effort to recapture the Nat Turner slave rebellion of 1831 There are several things I liked about the book I liked that the book wasn't overly long or detailed which made it a good book to read for my history class I was drawn to efforts that Oates went through to supply the reader with the NorthSouth and StateFederal politics of the time which really amplified the effects of the small and otherwise unsuccessful act I found Oates reflections on the present day sout to be especially believableI have to admit that I was particularly shocked with the barbarity relayed in the slaughter of the slavemasters but in no way did I feel that the author was attempting to sway his audience The bottomline was that slavery was a losing prospect for both whites and blacks an institution of which all are negatively impacted today

Read è PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ê Stephen B. Oates

The bloody slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in Virginia in 1831 and the savage reprisals that followed shattered beyond repair the myth of the contented slave and the benign master and intensified the forces of change that would plunge A. Benjamin and Elizabeth Turner Nat’s original owners in Southampton County Virginia were Methodists Methodism had spread wildly across America in the late eighteenth century; and like many zealous divines before they become institutionalized the missionary Methodist preachers pounding over the young republic’s backcountry roads brought rather uncomfortable news to the converts who gathered to hear them—namely that God did not approve of their owning other people That didn’t play in the South however and rather than lose congregants the Methodist elders promulgated tepid half measures like Methodist clergy couldn’t own slaves; or Methodist converts could own slaves but couldn’t trade in them; finally they gave even that up and contented themselves with encouraging Methodist slaveholders to Christianize their slaves and so prepare their souls for the Kingdom of Heaven where the raw deal they were getting here on earth would be recompensed sort of This Benjamin and Elizabeth Turner duly did and their slaves like those of many others were fed a steady diet of the submission and obedience counseling passages from the Old Testament along with the uietist turn the other cheek stuff from the New Problem was their slave boy Nat son of a runaway father and pure blood African mother was something of a genius—Benjamin Turner even said Nat would be of no use to anyone as a slave Nat somehow learned to read no one ever figured out how and got a hold of a Bible Therein he found all the crazy shit his owners probably wouldn’t have wanted him to know about like the eschatological visions of the exiled Hebrew prophets—you know the captive Israelites must smite down their oppressor—and the apocalyptic phantasmagoria of the book of Revelations Nat Turner—brilliant prideful and increasingly bitter about being a slave especially after being broken to field hand and sold away from his wife and children—“grew to manhood with the words of the prophets roaring in his ears” Uh oh Nat Turner among his fellow slaves was a lot like Crazy Horse among the Sioux—aloof austere given to bouts of broody introspection and solitary rambles during which he fasted himself into visions He was an outsider but all the impressive for his abstention from group amusements like apple brandy and dancing; and the other slaves felt that because he had magically taught himself to read and bore cranial bumps and birthmarks that in African tradition mark the warrior prophet he must represent a mystic potential worth respecting So when he began to hear the Spirit talking to him in the fields and discovered blood droplets on the corn “as though it were dew from Heaven” and find leaves marked with runic symbols and see black spirits and white spirits battling in the sky they believed him To whites Turner was the object of at times uneasy curiosity—this “smart nigger” who even dared baptize and pronounce born again a white man a neighborhood ne’er do well by the name of Etheldred P Brantley—but generally they felt reassured by his obvious piety and abstemiousness as well as by his mask of “Yessuh” In hindsight it seems incredible that they could have thought innocuous a man who preferred to spend his scant free time exhorting hellfire or fasting and praying alone in the woods Don’t fear the drunken slave he’ll be asleep soon enough fear the slave who believes alcohol incompatible with his holy mission So during the late 1820s Nat was allowed considerable freedom of movement among the county’s farms to preach at Sunday slave “praise meetings” These rambles not only allowed him to sow dissension among his fellow slaves and identify which of them seemed suited to his plan but also to gain a tactical knowledge of the county’s topography and ominously to note the cruel and kind among the masters and overseers On Saturday August 13 1831 there occurred some sort of atmospheric disturbance that dimmed the sun and produced a visible black spot on its surface This event caused consternation up and down the eastern seaboard from South Carolina to New York and many in the religious young republic feared the end was nighsuch fears were complete nonsense everywhere but in Southampton County where Nat Turner saw the sun spot as the “black hand of Jehovah” an unambiguous sign that it was time to launch the backwoods Judgment Day he had been preparing “It was plain to me that the Saviour was about to lay down the yoke he had borne for the sins of men and the great Day of Judgment was at band”The next Sunday night with the whites gorged and drowsy from a day of convivial barbeue Nat and his followers burst from the woods At first they eschewed firearms in the interest of stealth; with windmilling axe blows jugular daggers and later musket volleys they destroyed some 60 whites—men women babes in cradle a schoolyardful of children decapitated and left in “one bloody heap” As Turner’s men neared the uprising’s vague objective the town of Jerusalem Virginia Holy Land place names add what is perhaps a gratuitous touch to this already Boschian tale they acuired guns horses plentiful liuor and a semblance of tactical disposition Nat placed his twenty most dependable fighters in front and sent them galloping down on the homesteads before anybody could escape The rest of his troops moved helter skelter behind the advance cavalry some guarding Negro hostages others drinking brandy For some unknown reason Nat stationed himself in the rear of his strung out forces riding alone again lost in his thoughts and his prayersAfter personally claiming but a single victim—a teenage girl he chased across a field overtook then brained with a fence rail—Turner rode apart probably to look for further signs and direction from the Almighty but usually caught up his men “sometimes got in sight in time to see the work of death completed” he later said and “viewed the mangled bodies as they lay in silent satisfaction and immediately started in uest of other victims” He had the idea that his massacres were prelude to the apocalypse but obliterating several families only served to instigate the well armed militia company that attacked and scattered his band on its second day of marauding Turner fled back into the woods where he hid out for two months before his discovery trial and hanging He went to the gallows unrepentant and self commanding confident in Christ parallels ready for that hereafter Before his execution as he languished “loaded with chains” in the pit of the gaol Turner was approached by a local lawyer who wanted to secure an avowal that the killing spree was not part of a coordinated interstate uprising the specter of which was causing many summary massacres of slaves and free blacks by cagey white mobs in Virginia and North Carolina Turner went on record to make such an avowal and in the process dictated his famous Confessions—autobiographical essay delusive religious testament and a powerful contribution to the debate already then in progress about the uprising’s political meaning and conseuences and the future at least in Virginia of the South’s peculiar domestic institution The ferocious rage the absolutely ruthless nature and extent of Turner’s murders shattered forever the Upper South slaveholders’ pretentions to a benevolent mildly paternal slavery—the whole propaganda of happy darkies strumming banjos in the sweet summer dusk contented after a day of honest Christian toil redemptive of their ancestral heathenhood Violence like Turner’s is the resort of the desperate and the vengeful not the contended It was therefore imperative that the proslavery authorities in defending the institution from Virginians who in Turner’s wake pointed out its great danger to label Turner an aberrant slave which he was of course but not exclusively so—he had disciples after all and many spontaneous joiners and a religious fanaticand a religious fanatic he surely is by our lights but not by the standards of his time Set next to the behavior of his owners Turner’s actually looks uite normal an idea he makes plain in his unrepentant confessions; where they found biblical justification of slavery he found biblical justification of the murder of slaveholders As Lincoln would write in his Second Inaugural Address Americans on both sides of the great slavery war read the same Bible invoked the same God while spilling each other’s blood I would place Nat Turner among the singular black men whose powers Du Bois wrote are seen “throughout history” to “flash here and there like falling stars and die sometimes before the world has rightly gauged their brightness” The tale of Turner’s intellectual life is obviously one of isolation impoverishment and grotesue warping; nonetheless in it we see powers eual to the attainment of literacy with a only a smuggled grammar—to the assimilation of classical rhetoric while being worked and whipped like a mule—to a revelation of the radicalism of the slaveholders’ cherished Bible and the winnowing of murderous propaganda from the text meant to pacify and humble him In his confession he says God told him to slay his enemies “with their own weapons” Poised against the Mayflower is the slave ship—manned by Yankees and Englishmen—bringing another race to try against the New World that will prove its tenacity and ability to thrive by seizing upon the Christian religion—William Carlos Williams And about this time I had a vision—and I saw white spirits and black spirits engaged in battle and the sun was darkened—the thunder rolled in the Heavens and blood flowed in the streams—Nat TurnerStephen B Oates shows up in Ken Burns’ The Civil War looking and sounding like Ned Flanders with a southern accent and fire in his belly—mustachioed bespectacled and be sweatered righteously arraigning command decisions of the Gettysburg campaign “Lee had come by Gettysburg to believe in his invincibility and that of his men and it was his doom” His is a smoothly integrated Cattonesue narrative style Catton supplies an epigraph the authorial emphases and particulars of presentation defended in the extensive essayistic endnotes I found it went down all too easy at times I for one like it when historians work through interpretations before the reader make a performance of the sifting and assembly of atrocious fragments with lots of bewildered shrugs and rueful sighing; as an archivist—bored sentry over page turning patrons—maybe I like to see the documentary grunt work show up in the prose But Oates is still uite effective—even gives a nod to modernistic meta history with an epilogic first person account of a visit to Southampton County to the farms still standing—and this book will make your hair stand up There’s a graphic novel based on Turner’s revolt that is considered one of the most violent ever published and all despite never straying from the historical record Not sure why Oates didn’t append Turner’s Confessions they’re not that long

Stephen B. Oates Ê 2 Review

The Fires of Jubilee Nat Turner's Fierce RebellionMerica into the bloodbath of the Civil WarStephen B Oates the acclaimed biographer of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr presents a gripping and insightful account of the rebellion the complex gifted and driven man who led it the s. Nat Turner is a name unlikely to stir the imagination of most Americans Unless one is coming fresh from a US History course Turner tends to get lost in the muddle of early America I find only some of my students have heard of him; seldom can any of them tell me what he did Turner was a slave in Southampton County Virginia inland from the Chesapeake Bay but still swampy and hot The slaveholders of the area prided themselves on governing their slaves with a gentle hand unlike the fearsome reputation of large scale plantation life in faraway Georgia or Mississippi Turner’s masters he had several and by the time of his revolt in 1831 had been inherited by a nine year old boy were indulgent farmers below the planter class line and under them Turner became a Baptist slave preacher and renowned local mysticIn The Fires of Jubilee Stephen Oates describes Turner as a precocious child supposedly knowing how to read and write without having to learn and having knowledge of events that took place before he was even born Over time he came to have a keen sense of purpose and had visions and communications from the Holy Ghost telling him to prepare to take up Christ’s yoke and end slavery for all time He built a conspiracy slowly relying on a small core of trusted confidants and in August of 1831 he struck Turner and his small army spent most of a day roving across the Virginia countryside assaulting whites of all ages and sexes Turner’s rebels killed around sixty people including ten children fleeing a schoolhouse a number of toddlers and an infant in a cradle Turner himself murdered only one person a woman whom he beat to death with a fencepost Oates’s descriptions of the attacks are frank and unembellished and all the disturbing as a result Most of the killing occurred in the early hours of the revolt before word got out and Turner’s forces began arriving at abandoned farmsteads Local militia offered resistance and Turner’s rebellion began to fall apart even before the US Army arrived from the coast The slave army disintegrated resulting in a series of reprisals and vigilante attacks that actually worsened the conditions of slaves not just in southeast Virginia but throughout the South Turner himself managed to hide for a month and a half until captured by a poor white hunting in the woods He then faced the fate of his fellow rebels and many slaves and free blacks besides and was hangedOates tells Turner’s story in a dramatic engaging narrative perfect for the general reader or student It’s well researched and situates Turner’s life in its broader historical context the tidewater South of the Second Great Awakening and the Nullification Controversy Oates has a particularly good eye for the telling detail and the character sketch and the narrative he constructs from his sources deftly portrays the complexities of life in a slave society He also to his great credit does not downplay the violence of Turner’s rebellion forcing the reader to uestion his sympathies and the proper lengths to go in resisting a wicked systemThe book has some minor weaknesses Oates tends to root Turner’s visions and violence in personal resentment at his lowly station This is an interpretation that seems to downplay the religious dimension of Turner’s revolt Not being familiar with the primary sources on the topic I can’t say whether there’s anything to this interpretation but it seems that religion an apocalyptic sense of divine purpose was Turner’s motivation Oates doesn’t make much of this but it muddies his presentation of Turner’s character and actionsSecond Oates relies rather too heavily on intuitions and “undoubtedlys” in some passages For example On December 3 the Vice President John C Calhoun stopped over in Richmond on his way back to the national capital dined and chatted with Virginia Governor Floyd and told him that South Carolina would nullify the tariff ‘unless it is greatly modified’ Floyd recorded nothing else about their conversations but Calhoun undoubtedly explained that South Carolinians too were upset about Nat Turner and blamed abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison for inciting slave revolts 137Given that the source for Calhoun and Floyd’s dinnertime conversation is Floyd’s diary and he “recorded nothing else” beyond their nullification talk this is rather a lot to hang on the word “undoubtedly” Calhoun may have said this; the problem is we can’t know Better to leave things like this in the dark rather than drift into speculative fiction Fortunately like Oates’s iffy interpretation of Turner’s motivations this is a problem that only occasionally pops upThe only part of the book I had real problems with was the epilogue in which which Oates recounts visiting Southampton County to walk the path of Turner’s rebels Oates presents himself as trepidatious and cowed by dangerous locals of both races as a pilgrim traveling in a hostile country He congratulates himself on his bravery and on finding a likeminded soul to help him past the antagonistic gatekeeper of the county’s historical society “Being a liberal in the rural south” Oates sagely reminds us “is not an easy life” 149 He also heavily insinuates that The Man is trying to suppress the memory of Turner’s rebellion It rapidly becomes insufferable Fortunately the epilogue is short and does contain some evocative passages about stumbling out of the woods and into the yards of the now gone houses of 1831I’ve dwelt on the one or two misgivings I have with the book but again these are minor uibbles issues to be aware of but that don’t detract from the overall value of the book The Fires of Jubilee justifies its position as a classic biography and a well told narrative of a tragic turning point in American historyHighly recommended