During the middle 1800s, slavery was amidst its deepest immersion into southern culture. Slavery drove the culture and economy, supplying all needs for the southern states of America. Slave society depended on the mutual, healthy relationship between slaves and their white slave-owners.
The South argued that slave culture was a necessity and moral right for society, arguing that it was the way in which our society should work. Many southerner white men worked to preserve the slave culture in the South, supporting it with many forms of different arguments. As many African American slaves became unhappy with their living situation and immoral living system, they began to revolt in many ways.
Some revolts were major, with violence and bloodshed, while others were minor, with slaves subtly refusing to do their work or not producing as much as they should. Southern society immediately and swiftly put these revolts down without creating a big deal out of them. These slaves revolts were not seen as a major threat to southern slave society and were put down quietly. Although slave rebellions were only seen as minor corruptions or uprisings to american society, slave revolts actually instablitized southern slave society in america by disrupting the peaceful, organized society in the south and by increasing northern and southern sectional tensions in the antebellum era.Slave rebellions in the South created distrust in white slave ownerand slave relationships and created disorder, which uprooted the healthy pro-slave society in southern America.
Slave rebellions in the south, such as the stono rebellion, created an awareness in the south that there was an unrest among slaves and that there was an instability of the institution. This awareness among southern society created a distrust within the relationship between the white slaveholder and slave. This distrust created from the rebellions disrupted the happiness and healthy relationship between slave and slaveholder, instabilitizing the organized slave system within the South. After other slave rebellions such as Nat Turner’s rebellion, white slave owners began to place restrictions on slaves, putting limitations on a slave’s literacy. By taking away the the slave’s ability to write and read, it created a resentment for their white slaveholders, in return disrupting the previous robust relationship, which was key to stability in the South. Also as a result of slave revolts and uprisings, whites in the south began to place restrictions on a slaves movement, and violations of rules with whippings to the back, further creating a distrust in the previously sturdy relationship between the slave and slave owner. These restrictions or limitations placed on the slaves further disrupted southern society by creating a distrust between the slave and slave owner, making slaves more apt to produce less for society.
After slave rebellions, slaveholders never lived alongside slavery comfortably again. Because of the slave rebellions, the white slave owning men and families were under a constant fear of their slaves, fearing that they had the ability to harm them or disrupt their needs. Slaveholders and southern families began to live under a constant fear that their slaves could rise up and revolt at any moment. Southern society began to be severely dissolved by this constant fear of rebellion, for it disrupted daily life and created fear in their society.
The results and consequences of these rebellions also contradicted the pro-slavery argument in the south, disrupting the strong support of slavery in the south created an unbalance in southern society. Along with large upscale revolts, most slaves created minor and subtle defiance against the slavery system. They did this through small, passive aggressive acts such as working slow in the fields and pretending to accidentally ruin crops.
These small acts of defiance slowed daily plantation life, limiting production and disrupted southern plantation agendas, uprooting southern society and putting it into a unbalance. Another form of slave defiance or revolt was running away from a home plantation in attempt to reach freedom in the North. Runaway slaves began to disrupt routines and agendas on farms and plantations, upset slave owners, and dissolve the foundation of discipline among slaves. By running away, slaves began to disrupt the daily-life of plantations in slave society, forcing lower production of goods and disrupting day-to-day society itself. Slave defiance disrupted slave society in the south through creating distrust among white slaveholders and white families and their slaves, creating fear of violent revolt among society, and disrupting daily plantation life. Increased Northern and Southern tensions caused by slave rebellions put Southern society into disorder and out of unity. As there was already tension among the Northern and Southern states of the United States, slave rebellions began to increase the tension by promoting abolition within the North. As slaves began to run away and rebel, there was much question in the north about whether or not slavery was constitutional or morally correct.
Some northerners turned to the idea of abolition of slavery. The Northerners challenged the southern way of life and many southerners feared this threat of abolition of slavery. The threat of abolition created a fear and hatred within all levels of society, with most people in the south believing that the abolitionists advocated for slave rebellion, which could bring class warfare which would end the southern way of life. As Northern and Southern tension grew due to slave rebellions advocating for abolition, many southerners became agitated with the the Northern ideals, promoting violence in response. Many southerners began to burn anti-slavery pamphlets, and had mob attacks and murders of abolitionists in the south. These increased tensions among the North and South and fear of abolition promoted and increased violence in the South, creating chaos in the South.
This chaos created uprooted society and disrupted the norm in the South. As slave defiance, or more specifically runaway slaves, became more and more prevalent in the south, there was an issue of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 (part of the Compromise of 1850). As a result of the Fugitive Slave act, there was an increased tension among the North and South as the North refused to comply to the act, angering the South. The slave revolts causing the Fugitive Slave Act controversy created a threat to “slaveholder power” in the south, further disrupting slave society, the dominating social and economic system of the South. In 1859 in Kansas, John Brown, a white extreme abolitionist, led men to violently rebel and raid at Harpers Ferry with bloodshed in 1859.
The rebellion was against slavery and in the name of abolition. Many northerners applauded the raid, calling Brown a hero for the abolition movement. This raid threatened southern society and caused an uproar among the South. By Northerners applauding this revolt and calling for abolition, they once again began to threaten “slave-power” society in the south, putting the south into conflict and disorder. Slave rebellions within the south created further Northern and Southern conflict, which put southern society at a threat abolition and into disorder and disunity.
Slave rebellions in the South created many problems within southern society, despite the notion that they were quietly put down and over with. Slave rebellions dissolved and deteriorated healthy and normal southern way of life. They disrupted daily plantation life and needed production and created fear among southern society.
Slave defiances also created increased Northern and Southern sectional conflict, which created problems, disorder, and disunity within southern slave culture, with fear of abolitionism and chaos among society.