Revolta do primeiro escravo - História

Revolta do primeiro escravo - História

Em 1712, a primeira revolta de escravos na América do Norte ocorreu na cidade de Nova York. Vinte e um negros foram executados por matar nove brancos. Nova York respondeu à revolta fortalecendo seus códigos escravistas.

Revolta do primeiro escravo - História

Quase 40 anos antes do primeiro assentamento europeu permanente na América do Norte, exploradores espanhóis trazem africanos escravizados para o que hoje são as Carolinas. Os africanos escapam naquela que é a primeira revolta de escravos registrada na América do Norte.

Estevan, o primeiro muçulmano identificado na América do Norte, chega à Flórida como guia marroquino dos espanhóis. Durante os anos de tráfico de escravos que se seguiram, cerca de 20% dos escravos da África Ocidental trazidos para a América do Norte são muçulmanos.

As colônias inglesas recém-estabelecidas na América do Norte criam uma demanda por trabalhadores no Novo Mundo. No início, os africanos capturados são trazidos para as colônias como servos contratados. Uma vez que seu mandato (3-7 anos) é concluído, os servos contratados podem viver livres, possuir terras e ter seus próprios servos contratados. No entanto, este sistema não dura muito a servidão contratada dá lugar à escravidão vitalícia para os africanos à medida que as colônias britânicas crescem e a necessidade de uma força de trabalho permanente e barata aumenta.

Massachusetts se torna a primeira colônia britânica a legitimar a escravidão. Outros estados logo seguirão o exemplo. Os direitos dos africanos livres são gradualmente restringidos. Em 1662, todas as crianças nascidas de pais escravos na Virgínia também são escravizadas. A escravidão tornou-se um sistema que se autoperpetua.

A Coroa inglesa estabelece a Sociedade para a Propagação do Evangelho em partes estrangeiras da Igreja Anglicana para converter escravos e nativos americanos ao cristianismo. O impulso para converter escravos não é bem-vindo por todos os proprietários de escravos, no entanto. Muitos não querem permitir que seus escravos recebam instrução religiosa, temendo não mais poder reivindicá-los como propriedade depois de serem batizados. Em 1705, a Virgínia aprovou uma lei que determina que todos os trabalhadores que "não fossem cristãos em seu país nativo. Serão escravos. Negros, mulatos e índios escravos. Serão considerados bens imóveis".

Santa Teresa de Mose é estabelecida na Flórida como uma cidade para escravos libertos que se converteram ao catolicismo. Torna-se a primeira cidade negra livre da América do Norte.

O Grande Despertar, uma revitalização da expressão religiosa, varre as colônias britânicas. O movimento de avivamento, ao contrário da doutrina anterior dos puritanos, promete a graça de Deus a todos os que desejam por ela. Metodistas e batistas dão as boas-vindas aos afro-americanos para se juntarem a suas fileiras. Pregação ao ar livre e pregadores carismáticos e apaixonados atraem multidões de participantes.

Pequenas congregações negras começam a surgir no sul. Eles não são necessariamente afiliados a uma igreja, mas, em vez disso, são reuniões informais realizadas ao ar livre em "arbustos". No caramanchão dos arbustos, homens e mulheres são chamados pelo espírito. Muitos dos pregadores de plantation do sexo masculino fundam as primeiras igrejas negras independentes - as mulheres permanecem itinerantes.

A Geórgia legaliza a escravidão. É a última colônia a fazer isso.

Uma das primeiras congregações negras registradas é organizada na plantação de William Byrd em Mecklenburg, Virginia.

O pregador escravo de plantação George Liele, o primeiro batista negro na Geórgia, funda a Igreja Batista Silver Bluff em Silver Bluff, Carolina do Sul. A congregação inclui negros livres e escravos. Um dos seguidores originais de Liele, Andrew Bryan, foi ordenado pela Igreja Batista em 1788 e fundou a Igreja Batista Africana de Bryan Street, que mais tarde foi renomeada como Primeira Igreja Batista Africana de Savannah.

Phillis Wheatley, uma escrava libertada, publica Poemas sobre vários assuntos, religiosos e morais. Os ex-proprietários de Wheatley, os Wheatleys de Boston, proporcionaram a Wheatley uma excelente educação, rara para negros e mulheres na época, e a encorajaram a continuar escrevendo.

A Sociedade para o Socorro de Negros Livres ilegalmente mantidos em servidão, que mais tarde (1784) se tornou conhecida como Sociedade da Pensilvânia para a Abolição da Escravidão, foi fundada na Filadélfia. Os quakers, que aboliram a escravidão entre si quase 20 anos antes, fundaram a organização e revisaram sua constituição para incluir um número maior de membros.

A Revolução Americana, a guerra de independência da Inglaterra, começa. Soldados negros lutam tanto pelos legalistas - aqueles leais à Inglaterra - quanto pelos patriotas. Pelo menos 5.000 homens negros servem no Exército Continental e lutam em batalhas importantes, incluindo Lexington, Concord e Bunker Hill. Os governadores coloniais britânicos tentam incitar rebeliões e fugas de escravos prometendo liberdade aos escravos que lutam pela coroa inglesa.


Os escravos afro-americanos se rebelaram?

Uma das alegações mais perniciosas feitas contra o povo afro-americano foi que nossos ancestrais escravos eram excepcionalmente & # 8220docile & # 8221 ou & # 8220content e leais & # 8221, explicando assim seu suposto fracasso em se rebelar extensivamente. Alguns até comparam americanos escravizados a seus irmãos e irmãs no Brasil, Cuba, Suriname e Haiti, o último dos quais derrotou o exército mais poderoso do mundo, o exército de Napoleão e # 8217, tornando-se os primeiros escravos da história a desferir um golpe com sucesso em seus própria liberdade.

Como nos informa o historiador Herbert Aptheker em Revoltas de escravos negros americanos, ninguém colocou esse argumento desonesto e abertamente pró-escravidão de forma mais direta do que o historiador de Harvard James Schouler em 1882, que atribuiu essa conclusão espúria à & # 8221 & # 8216a paciência inata, docilidade e simplicidade infantil do negro & # 8217 & # 8221 que, para ele, era um & # 8221 & # 8216imitador e não moralista, & # 8217 & # 8221 aprendendo & # 8221 & # 8216deceit e libertinismo com facilidade, & # 8217 & # 8221 sendo & # 8221 & # 8216facilmente intimidados, incapazes de tramas profundas & # 8217 & # 8220 em suma, os negros eram & # 8221 & # 8216 uma raça negra servil, sensual, estúpida, brutal, obediente ao chicote, crianças na imaginação. & # 8217 & # 8221

Considere como isso era bizarro: não era o suficiente que os escravos tivessem sido subjugados sob um regime severo e brutal por dois séculos e meio após o colapso da Reconstrução, esta escola de historiadores & # 8212 apologeticamente apóia a escravidão & # 8212 chutou o escravos novamente por não se levantarem com mais frequência para matar seus senhores opressores. E para que não pensemos que esse fenômeno foi relegado aos estudiosos do século 19 e início do século 20, ainda em 1959, Stanley Elkins desenhou os escravos como infantilizados & # 8220Sambos & # 8221 em seu livro Escravidão: um problema na vida institucional e intelectual americana, reduzido ao status de passivo, & # 8220 criança perpétua & # 8221 pela forma severamente opressora da escravidão americana e, portanto, incapaz de se rebelar. Raramente consigo pensar em um conjunto de afirmações mais frias e desagradáveis ​​do que essas sobre a falta de coragem ou & # 8220manhood & # 8221 dos escravos afro-americanos.

Então, os escravos afro-americanos se rebelaram? Claro que sim. Já em 1934, nosso velho amigo Joel A. Rogers identificou 33 revoltas de escravos, incluindo Nat Turner & # 8217s, em seu 100 fatos surpreendentes. E nove anos depois, o historiador Herbert Aptheker publicou seu estudo pioneiro, Revolta Escravo Negro Americano, para esclarecer as coisas. Aptheker definiu uma revolta de escravos como uma ação envolvendo 10 ou mais escravos, com & # 8220liberdade como o objetivo aparente [e] referências contemporâneas rotulando o evento como um levante, conspiração, insurreição ou o equivalente destes. & # 8221 Ao todo, Aptheker diz, ele & # 8220 encontrou registros de aproximadamente duzentos e cinquenta revoltas e conspirações na história da escravidão negra americana. & # 8221 Outros estudiosos encontraram até 313.

Vamos considerar as cinco maiores rebeliões de escravos nos Estados Unidos, sobre as quais Donald Yacovone e eu escrevemos no próximo livro que acompanha minha nova série da PBS, Os afro-americanos: muitos rios a cruzar.

1. Stono Rebellion, 1739. A Rebelião Stono foi a maior revolta de escravos já encenada nas 13 colônias. No domingo, 9 de setembro de 1739, um dia livre de trabalho, cerca de 20 escravos sob a liderança de um homem chamado Jemmy deram aos brancos uma dolorosa lição sobre o desejo africano de liberdade. Muitos membros do grupo eram soldados experientes, quer da Guerra de Yamasee, quer da sua experiência nas suas casas em Angola, onde foram capturados e vendidos, e foram treinados no uso de armas.

Eles se reuniram no rio Stono e invadiram uma loja semelhante a um armazém, Hutchenson & # 8217s, executando os proprietários brancos e colocando suas vítimas & # 8217s nos degraus da frente da loja para todos verem. Eles se mudaram para outras casas na área, matando os ocupantes e queimando as estruturas, marchando pela colônia em direção a St. Augustine, Flórida, onde, segundo a lei espanhola, estariam livres.

À medida que a marcha avançava, nem todos os escravos aderiram à insurreição, alguns recuaram e até ajudaram a esconder seus senhores. Mas muitos foram atraídos por ela, e os rebeldes logo chegaram a cerca de 100. Eles desfilaram pela King & # 8217s Highway, de acordo com fontes, carregando faixas e gritando & # 8220Liberty! & # 8221 & # 8212 lukango em seu kikongo nativo, uma palavra que expressaria os ideais ingleses incorporados à liberdade e, talvez, salvação.

Os escravos lutaram contra os ingleses por mais de uma semana antes que os colonos se reunissem e matassem a maioria dos rebeldes, embora alguns muito provavelmente tenham chegado a Fort Mose. Mesmo depois que as forças coloniais esmagaram o levante de Stono, surtos ocorreram, inclusive no ano seguinte, quando a Carolina do Sul executou pelo menos 50 escravos rebeldes adicionais.

2. The New York City Conspiracy of 1741. Com cerca de 1.700 negros vivendo em uma cidade de cerca de 7.000 brancos, parecendo determinados a oprimir todos os afrodescendentes, alguma forma de vingança parecia inevitável. No início de 1741, o Fort George em Nova York foi totalmente destruído por um incêndio. Os incêndios eclodiram em outras partes da cidade & # 8212 quatro em um dia & # 8212 e em Nova Jersey e em Long Island. Vários brancos alegaram ter ouvido escravos se gabando de iniciar o fogo e ameaçar coisas piores. Eles concluíram que uma revolta havia sido planejada por sociedades e gangues negras secretas, inspiradas por uma conspiração de padres e seus asseclas católicos & # 8212 brancos, negros, pardos, livres e escravos.

Certamente houve grupos étnicos coerentes que poderiam ter liderado uma resistência, entre eles o Papa, da Costa dos Escravos perto de Whydah (Ouidah) no Benin o Igbo, da área ao redor do rio Níger e o Malagasy, de Madagascar. Outro grupo identificável e suspeito era conhecido entre os conspiradores como & # 8220Cuba People & # 8221 & # 8220negroes e mulatos & # 8221 capturados no início da primavera de 1740 em Cuba. Provavelmente foram trazidos de Havana para Nova York, o maior porto das Índias Ocidentais espanholas e lar de uma população negra livre. Por terem sido & # 8220 homens livres em seu próprio país & # 8221, eles se sentiram injustamente escravizados em Nova York.

Um servo contratado irlandês de 16 anos, preso por roubo, alegou saber de um complô dos escravos da cidade & # 8217s & # 8212 em aliança com alguns brancos & # 8212 para matar homens brancos, apreender mulheres brancas e incinerar a cidade . Na investigação que se seguiu, 30 homens negros, dois homens brancos e duas mulheres brancas foram executados. Setenta pessoas de ascendência africana foram exiladas em lugares distantes como Newfoundland, Madeira, Saint-Domingue (que na independência dos franceses em 1804 foi renomeado Haiti) e Curaçao. Antes do final do verão de 1741, 17 negros seriam enforcados e outros 13 enviados para a fogueira, tornando-se horríveis iluminações de medos brancos acendidos pela instituição da escravidão que eles defendiam com tanto zelo.

3. Gabriel & # 8217s Conspiracy, 1800. Nascido profeticamente em 1776 na plantação de Prosser, a apenas seis milhas ao norte de Richmond, Virgínia, e lar (para usar o termo vagamente) de 53 escravos, um escravo chamado Gabriel planejaria uma trama, com a liberdade como meta, que era emblemática da época em que viveu.

Um ferreiro habilidoso que tinha mais de um metro e oitenta de altura e se vestia com roupas finas quando estava fora da forja, Gabriel era uma figura imponente. Mas o que o distinguia mais do que seu porte físico era sua capacidade de ler e escrever: apenas 5% dos escravos do sul eram alfabetizados.

Outros escravos admiravam homens como Gabriel, e o próprio Gabriel encontrou inspiração nas revoluções francesa e de São Domingos de 1789. Ele absorveu o fervor político da época e concluiu, embora erroneamente, que a ideologia democrática jeffersoniana abrangia os interesses dos escravos negros e trabalhadores brancos que, unidos, poderiam se opor à opressora classe mercantil federalista.

Estimulado por dois soldados franceses de espírito liberal que conheceu em uma taverna, Gabriel começou a formular um plano, convocando seu irmão Solomon e outro servo da plantação de Prosser em sua luta pela liberdade. A notícia se espalhou rapidamente para Richmond, outras cidades e plantações próximas e muito além, para Petersburgo e Norfolk, por meio de negros livres e escravizados que trabalhavam nos canais. Gabriel assumiu um risco tremendo ao deixar que tantos negros soubessem de seus planos: era necessário para atrair simpatizantes, mas também o expunha à possibilidade de traição.

Independentemente disso, Gabriel perseverou, com o objetivo de reunir pelo menos 1.000 escravos para sua bandeira de & # 8220Morte ou Liberdade & # 8221, uma inversão do famoso grito do revolucionário escravista Patrick Henry. Com incrível ousadia & # 8212 e ingenuidade & # 8212, Gabriel decidiu marchar para Richmond, tomar o arsenal e manter o governador James Monroe refém até que a classe mercante se curvasse aos rebeldes & # 8217 demandas de direitos iguais para todos. Ele planejou seu levante para 30 de agosto e o divulgou bem.

Mas naquele dia, uma das piores tempestades da memória recente atingiu a Virgínia, destruindo estradas e tornando a viagem quase impossível. Implacável, Gabriel acreditou que apenas um pequeno bando seria necessário para levar a cabo o plano. Mas muitos de seus seguidores perderam a fé e ele foi traído por um escravo chamado Faraó, que temia retaliação se a trama falhasse.

A rebelião mal estava acontecendo quando o estado capturou Gabriel e vários co-conspiradores. Vinte e cinco afro-americanos, valendo cerca de US $ 9.000 ou mais & # 8212 dinheiro que, sem dinheiro, a Virginia certamente pensou que não poderia pagar & # 8212 foram enforcados juntos antes de Gabriel ir para a forca e ser executado, sozinho.

4. Levante da Costa Alemã, 1811. Se a Revolução Haitiana entre 1791 e 1804 & # 8212 liderada por Touissant Louverture e lutou e venceu por escravos negros sob a liderança de Jean-Jacques Dessalines & # 8212 atingiu o medo nos corações dos proprietários de escravos em todos os lugares, atingiu um acorde forte e eletrizante com escravos africanos na América.

Em 1811, cerca de 40 milhas ao norte de Nova Orleans, Charles Deslondes, um motorista de escravos mulato na plantação de açúcar Andry na área da costa alemã da Louisiana, teve inspiração volátil daquela vitória sete anos antes no Haiti. Ele iria liderar o que o jovem historiador Daniel Rasmussen chama de a maior e mais sofisticada revolta de escravos da história dos Estados Unidos em seu livro Revolta americana. (A Rebelião Stono foi a maior revolta de escravos nessas costas até este ponto, mas isso ocorreu nas colônias, antes que a América ganhasse sua independência da Grã-Bretanha.) Depois de comunicar suas intenções aos escravos na plantação de Andry e em áreas próximas, em Na noite chuvosa de 8 de janeiro, Deslondes e cerca de 25 escravos se levantaram e atacaram o proprietário e família da plantação. Eles mataram um dos filhos do proprietário, mas descuidadamente permitiram que o mestre escapasse.

Isso foi um erro tático com certeza, mas Deslondes e seus homens sabiamente escolheram a bem equipada plantação Andry & # 8212 um armazém para a milícia local & # 8212 como o lugar para começar sua revolta. Eles saquearam as lojas e apreenderam uniformes, armas e munições. Enquanto eles se moviam em direção a Nova Orleans, com a intenção de capturar a cidade, dezenas de homens e mulheres se juntaram à causa, cantando canções de protesto crioulas enquanto saqueavam plantações e assassinavam brancos. Alguns estimaram que a força finalmente aumentou para 300, mas é improvável que o exército de Deslondes exceda 124.

O congressista, senhor de escravos e guerreiro indígena da Carolina do Sul Wade Hampton foi incumbido da tarefa de reprimir a insurreição. Com uma força combinada de cerca de 30 soldados regulares do Exército dos EUA e milícia, Hampton levaria dois dias para deter os rebeldes. Eles travaram uma batalha campal que só terminou quando os escravos ficaram sem munição, a cerca de 20 milhas de Nova Orleans. Na matança que se seguiu, a falta de experiência militar dos escravos foi evidente: os brancos não sofreram baixas, mas quando os escravos se renderam, cerca de 20 insurgentes morreram, outros 50 tornaram-se prisioneiros e o restante fugiu para os pântanos.

No final do mês, os brancos haviam cercado outros 50 insurgentes. Em pouco tempo, cerca de 100 sobreviventes foram sumariamente executados, suas cabeças decepadas e colocadas ao longo da estrada para Nova Orleans. Como observou um plantador, eles se pareciam & # 8220 com corvos sentados em longas estacas. & # 8221

5. Nat Turner e Rebelião # 8217s, 1831. Nascido em 2 de outubro de 1800, no condado de Southampton, Virgínia, uma semana antes de Gabriel ser enforcado, Nat Turner impressionou a família e os amigos com um senso de propósito incomum, mesmo quando criança. Impulsionado por visões proféticas e acompanhado por uma série de seguidores & # 8212, mas sem objetivos claros & # 8212 em 22 de agosto de 1831, Turner e cerca de 70 escravos armados e negros livres partiram para massacrar os vizinhos brancos que os escravizavam.

Nas primeiras horas da manhã, eles espancaram o mestre de Turner & # 8217s e sua esposa e filhos com machados. No final do dia seguinte, os rebeldes atacaram cerca de 15 casas e mataram entre 55 e 60 brancos enquanto se moviam em direção à sede do condado de Jerusalém, Virgínia. Outros escravos que planejavam se juntar à rebelião repentinamente se voltaram contra ela após A milícia branca começou a atacar os homens de Turner, sem dúvida concluindo que ele estava fadado ao fracasso. A maioria dos rebeldes foi capturada rapidamente, mas Turner iludiu as autoridades por mais de um mês.

No domingo, 30 de outubro, um homem branco local tropeçou no esconderijo de Turner & # 8217s e o apreendeu. Um tribunal especial da Virgínia o julgou em 5 de novembro e o sentenciou à forca seis dias depois. Uma cena bárbara seguiu sua execução. Brancos enfurecidos pegaram seu corpo, esfolaram-no, distribuíram partes como lembranças e transformaram seus restos mortais em gordura. Sua cabeça foi removida e por um tempo ele trabalhou no departamento de biologia do Wooster College, em Ohio. (Na verdade, é provável que pedaços de seu corpo & # 8212 incluindo seu crânio e uma bolsa feita de sua pele & # 8212 foram preservados e estão escondidos em algum lugar.)

De seus companheiros rebeldes, 21 foram para a forca e outros 16 foram vendidos para fora da região. Como o estado reagiu com leis mais duras que controlam os negros, muitos negros livres fugiram da Virgínia para sempre. Turner continua sendo uma figura lendária, lembrada pelo caminho sangrento que traçou em sua guerra pessoal contra a escravidão e pela forma horrível e extravagante como foi tratado na morte.

O heroísmo e os sacrifícios desses rebeldes escravos seriam um prelúdio para a nobre atuação de cerca de 200.000 homens negros que serviram com tanta coragem na Guerra Civil, a guerra que finalmente pôs fim à instituição maligna que em 1860 acorrentou cerca de 3,9 milhões de humanos. seres à escravidão perpétua.

Cinquenta dos 100 fatos surpreendentes serão publicados no site The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. Leia todos os 100 fatos sobre A raiz.


Detalhes das viagens brutais do primeiro escravo descobertas

Em agosto de 1518, o rei Carlos I autorizou a Espanha a enviar escravos diretamente da África para as Américas. O edital marcou uma nova fase no comércio transatlântico de escravos em que o número de escravos trazidos diretamente para as Américas & # x2014 sem passar primeiro por um porto europeu & # x2014 aumentou dramaticamente.

Os pesquisadores descobriram novos detalhes sobre essas primeiras viagens diretas.

Rei da Espanha, Carlos, ao conceder licença para vender africanos como escravos nas colônias americanas da Espanha, em 1518.

Arquivos provisórios / Imagens Getty

Os historiadores David Wheat e Marc Eagle identificaram cerca de 18 viagens diretas da África para as Américas nos primeiros anos após Carlos I autorizar essas viagens & # x2014 as primeiras viagens que conhecemos.

O comércio transatlântico de escravos não começou em 1518, mas aumentou depois que o rei Carlos autorizou viagens diretas da África ao Caribe naquele ano. Na década de 1510 e & # x201820, os navios que navegavam da Espanha para as colônias caribenhas de Porto Rico e Hispaniola podiam conter apenas uma ou duas pessoas escravizadas, ou até 30 ou 40.

& # x201C Em meados da década de 1520, & # x2019 estamos vendo 200 & # x2014 às vezes quase 300 & # x2014captivos sendo trazidos no mesmo navio negreiro [da África], & # x201D diz Wheat, um professor de história na Michigan State University. É difícil rastrear de quais partes da África os cativos vieram, já que muitos foram capturados no continente e enviados para portos insulares ao largo da costa antes que os barcos espanhóis os levassem para as Américas.

& # x201Este é também um dos primeiros exemplos de pessoas escravizadas que se jogam ao mar, pessoas morrendo de desnutrição, & # x201D Wheat acrescenta. & # x201CAlguns dos mesmos aspectos realmente horríveis, violentos e brutais do comércio de escravos que foram vistos muito mais tarde, nós & # x2019 já os vimos nessas viagens de S & # xE3o Tom & # xE9 na década de 1520. & # x201D

S & # xE3o Tom & # xE9 era um porto de ilha colonial na costa oeste da África que Portugal fundou em meados do século XV. Antes de 1518, Portugal obrigava os africanos escravizados a trabalhar nas ilhas do Atlântico oriental. Além disso, navios espanhóis trouxeram africanos em cativeiro para a Península Ibérica, de onde enviaram alguns para o Caribe.

O convés lotado de um navio negreiro.

Arquivo Hulton / Imagens Getty

A Espanha pode ter aumentado o número de africanos escravizados que trouxe para o Caribe depois de 1518 porque os povos nativos que havia escravizado anteriormente estavam morrendo de doenças europeias e violência colonial. Embora não esteja claro quantos africanos cativos chegaram durante a década de 1520, Wheat estima que o número esteja na casa dos milhares.

Não temos muitos relatos em primeira mão de africanos nas Américas durante este período, mas uma exceção é Rodrigo Lopez, um ex-homem escravizado na África & # x2019s ilhas de Cabo Verde libertado em um dono de escravos & # x2019s testamento. Depois de se tornar um homem livre, ele foi capturado e enviado para as Américas, onde foi reescravizado no final da década de 1520. Lopez, que sabia ler e escrever em latim, protestou contra sua reescravização e reconquistou sua liberdade no início da década de 1930.

& # x201CIt & # x2019 é um caso incomum porque não temos apenas uma pessoa que tinha um status muito elevado entre os escravos nas ilhas de Cabo Verde, & # x201D Trigo diz, mas também porque & # x201Che pede sua liberdade e escreve sobre e esse documento ainda sobrevive. & # x201D Lopez explicou que um dos ex-funcionários de seu mestre & # x2019s o sequestrou durante a noite e o vendeu como escravo. Isso era ilegal, argumentou Lopez, porque ele era um homem livre agora.

A maioria dos homens, mulheres e crianças escravizados no Caribe não tinha a opção de processar por sua liberdade. Ainda assim, havia algumas pessoas de cor livres nas colônias hispano-americanas, porque a raça ainda não estava tão intimamente ligada à condição de escravo quanto estaria durante a escravidão americana.

Uma plantação de cacau nas Índias Ocidentais.

& # x201Clt era considerado normal para pessoas escravizadas serem negras, embora houvesse escravos de outras origens, & # x201D Wheat diz. & # x201CMas, ao mesmo tempo, também era normal que houvesse um pequeno número de pessoas de cor livres nas sociedades ibéricas ao redor do Atlântico. & # x201D

Wheat and Eagle publicará um ensaio sobre suas pesquisas em um próximo livro, Dos galeões às montanhas: rotas de comércio de escravos nas Américas espanholas em 2019. & # xA0Para o projeto, eles passaram muito tempo estudando os registros marítimos espanhóis e processos judiciais do Caribe que mencionavam viagens de escravos.

& # x201Ca maioria [dos processos] envolve uma de duas coisas & # x2026corrupção ou investidores insatisfeitos, & # x201D Wheat diz. A corrupção frequentemente envolvia funcionários que haviam permitido a realização de viagens de comércio de escravos sem licença.

Lidar com a & # x201Brutalidade ocasional & # x201D nesses registros costuma ser difícil, diz Eagle, um professor de história da Western Kentucky University. Mesmo em um relatório sobre uma revolta de escravos, & # x201C todo o relatório é sobre um capitão que está tentando justificar o fato de que ele perdeu alguns bens para seus investidores, e é realmente como se ele estivesse falando sobre mercadorias, & # x201D ele observa.

& # x201CQuando um escravo morre, ele & # x2019 enviará alguém para [registrar] o que a marca estava no escravo e do que ele morreu e manter um registro, e que & # x2019s tudo novamente para fins comerciais & # x2014 eles podem reivindicar isso como perda mais tarde , & # x201D Eagle continua. & # x201C Portanto, é realmente horripilante ler coisas como esta e perceber que elas & # x2019 estão falando sobre seres humanos. & # x201D


Toussaint Louverture: o primeiro líder de revolta de escravos bem-sucedido

François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture, também conhecido como Toussaint L'Ouverture ou Toussaint Bréda, foi o líder da Revolução Haitiana, a primeira rebelião de escravos bem-sucedida desde Spartacus contra a República Romana.

Pouco se sabe com certeza sobre o início da vida de Toussaint Louverture & # 8217, pois há relatos e evidências contraditórias sobre esse período. Os primeiros registros de sua vida são seus comentários registrados e as reminiscências de seu segundo filho legítimo, Isaac Louverture. A maioria das histórias identifica o pai de Toussaint & # 8217 como Gaou Guinou, um filho mais novo do Rei de Allada (também conhecido como Arrada), um reino histórico da África Ocidental localizado no atual Benin, que foi capturado na guerra e vendido como escravo. Sua mãe, Pauline, foi a segunda esposa de Gaou Guinou. O casal teve vários filhos, dos quais Toussaint era o filho mais velho.


Pensa-se que Toussaint nasceu na plantação de Bréda em Haut de Cap em Saint-Domingue, propriedade do Conde de Noé e posteriormente gerida por Bayon de Libertat. Sua data de nascimento é incerta, mas seu nome sugere que ele nasceu no Dia de Todos os Santos. Ele tinha provavelmente cerca de 50 anos no início da revolução em 1791 e várias fontes deram datas de nascimento entre 1739 e 1746

Acredita-se que Toussaint foi bem educado por seu padrinho Pierre Baptiste, embora os historiadores tenham especulado até que ponto era a inteligência de Toussaint & # 8217.

Suas cartas existentes demonstram um domínio do francês, além do dialeto crioulo com o qual ele estava familiarizado com Epicteto, o filósofo estóico que viveu como escravo e seus discursos públicos, bem como o trabalho de sua vida & # 8217, de acordo com seus biógrafos, mostram uma familiaridade com Maquiavel. Alguns citam o abade Raynal, que escreveu contra a escravidão, como uma possível influência: O texto da proclamação emitida pelo então líder escravo rebelde Toussaint em 29 de agosto de 1793, que pode ter sido a primeira vez que ele usou publicamente o apelido & # 8220Louverture & # 8221, parece referir-se a uma passagem anti-escravidão em Abbé Raynal & # 8217s & # 8220A História filosófica e política dos assentamentos e comércio dos europeus nas Índias Orientais e Ocidentais. & # 8221

Ele também pode ter obtido alguma educação com missionários jesuítas. Seu conhecimento médico é atribuído à familiaridade com as técnicas fitoterápicas africanas, bem como com as técnicas comumente encontradas em hospitais administrados por jesuítas.

No entanto, alguns documentos legais assinados em nome de Toussaint & # 8217s entre 1778 e 1781 levantam a possibilidade de que ele não pudesse escrever naquela época. Ao longo de sua carreira militar e política, utilizou secretárias para a maior parte de sua correspondência. Alguns documentos remanescentes de sua própria mão confirmam que ele sabia escrever, embora sua grafia na língua francesa fosse & # 8220 estritamente fonética. & # 8221

Toussaint Louverture começou sua carreira militar como líder da rebelião de escravos de 1791 na colônia francesa de Saint-Domingue, ele era então um homem negro livre e um jacobino. Inicialmente aliado aos espanhóis da vizinha Santo Domingo, Toussaint mudou de aliança para os franceses quando eles aboliram a escravidão. Ele gradualmente estabeleceu o controle sobre toda a ilha e usou táticas políticas e militares para ganhar domínio sobre seus rivais. Ao longo de seus anos no poder, ele trabalhou para melhorar a economia e a segurança de São Domingos. Ele restaurou o sistema de plantação usando trabalho pago, negociou tratados comerciais com a Grã-Bretanha e os Estados Unidos e manteve um grande e bem disciplinado exército.

Em 1801, ele promulgou uma constituição autonomista para a colônia, sendo ele mesmo governador-geral vitalício. Em 1802, ele foi forçado a renunciar por forças enviadas por Napoleão Bonaparte para restaurar a autoridade francesa na ex-colônia. Ele foi deportado para a França, onde morreu em 1803. A Revolução Haitiana continuou sob seu tenente, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, que declarou independência em 1º de janeiro de 1804. Os franceses haviam perdido dois terços das forças enviadas para a ilha em uma tentativa para suprimir a revolução, a maioria morreu de febre amarela.

Legado

influenciou John Brown a invadir Harpers Ferry. John Brown e sua banda capturaram cidadãos e, por algum tempo, o arsenal e o arsenal federal. O objetivo de Brown era que a população escrava local participasse do ataque. Mas as coisas não correram como planejado. Ele acabou sendo capturado e levado a julgamento, e foi enforcado em 2 de dezembro de 1859. Brown e seu grupo de irmãos mostram a devoção às táticas violentas da Revolução de Haition. Durante o século 19, os afro-americanos usaram Toussaint Louverture como um exemplo de como alcançar a liberdade. Também durante o século 19, a Grã-Bretanha usou a vida doméstica de Toussaint e ignorou sua militância para mostrar Toussaint como um escravo rebelde não ameaçador.

O gênio militar e a perspicácia política de Toussaint Louverture transformaram toda uma sociedade de escravos no primeiro levante de escravos bem-sucedido que levou ao estado independente do Haiti. Foi a maior revolta de escravos desde Spartacus, que liderou a revolta contra a República Romana. O sucesso da Revolução Haitiana abalou a instituição da escravidão em todo o Novo Mundo.


Como dois séculos de revoltas de escravos moldaram a história americana

Os atos ousados ​​e desesperados de rebelião de Nova York ao Caribe destruíram os estereótipos contemporâneos de povos escravizados e desafiaram a própria instituição da escravidão.

O início da escravidão na América do Norte gerou outra coisa: a rebelião. Os escravos não se envolviam apenas em resistência passiva contra os proprietários de escravos - eles planejavam e participavam de revoltas armadas. Entre os séculos 17 e 19, africanos e afro-americanos escravizados na América do Norte britânica e nos Estados Unidos encenaram centenas de revoltas.

Fed by a longing for freedom and occasionally inspired by slave actions in other parts of the region— especially the Caribbean—slave uprisings in the United States were daring, desperate, and inevitably doomed. Along the way, the organizers and participants of the rebellions shattered stereotypes of compliant, contented slaves, and challenged the institution of slavery itself.

Revolts evolved alongside slavery. The first known slave rebellion in one of England’s American colonies took place in Gloucester County, Virginia in 1663, 44 years after the first slaves arrived in the British colony. The Servants Plot, as it was known, involved white and black indentured servants who rebelled against the colony’s exploitative tobacco cultivation industry. Their plot failed and at least four men were hanged.

The incident unsettled planters. At the time, the tobacco economy relied on white and black indentured servants with finite contracts and some rights under the law. The uprising convinced many to trade their reliance on indentured servants and embrace race-based slavery instead. Planters increasingly purchased and enslaved Africans who had been kidnapped and brought to America by Dutch and English slavers unlike indentured servants, these laborers had no contracts and their bondage was passed on to their children. (These were the first enslaved people to arrive in the American colonies in 1619.)

As more enslaved Africans arrived in American colonies, they continued to rebel. A 1712 slave rebellion in New York City killed at least nine white slave holders, while in 1739, up to 100 black people in colonial South Carolina participated in the Stono Rebellion, the largest slave uprising in British North America. The revolt resulted in some laws intended to discourage uprisings and rein in brutal slaveholders, but fomented fear of black rebellion. The colonies already had strict slave codes designed to govern the behavior of enslaved people. In response to the Stono Rebellion, laws became increasingly draconian.

Terrified of enslaved Africans, white slaveholders reduced their reliance on African-born slaves and stoked a growing trade in African American chattel. In all 14 slave states and the District of Columbia that were part of the newly born United States, laws restricted enslaved people’s assembly, travel, worship, literacy and more. (Watch divers uncover the history of slave shipwrecks.)

Many slave codes were based on similar laws in the Caribbean. Ironically, the 1791-1803 Haitian Revolution, a massive uprising in which enslaved and free black people joined together to overthrow French slaveholders on Saint-Domingue, inspired enslaved people in the United States to participate in the exact kind of resistance slave codes were designed to prevent. The uprising sowed a fear of insurrection in slaveholders, who passed the Fugitive Slave Act, a law that required every state to return runaway slaves to slaveholders, in response to the revolution.

But that law did not keep enslaved laborers from running away—or fighting back against those who sold, purchased, and exploited them. In 1811, more than 500 enslaved people armed with knives, guns, and farm tools rebelled on Louisiana’s German Coast. Fueled by the success of the Haitian Revolution, the highly organized group planned to establish an independent black state. They were felled by a local militia and U.S. troops, who brutally punished the fighters. The German Coast Uprising was the largest slave revolt in United States history.

The 1831 Nat Turner rebellion, organized by an enslaved preacher in Virginia, was the bloodiest to both white and black people. During a day-long rampage, Turner and his followers killed at least 55 white people. During the aftermath, at least 30 men were executed after trials before a panel of judges who were themselves slaveowners. White people attacked, tortured, and killed at least 36 more enslaved people they suspected of rebellion. Martial law was eventually declared and the uprising stoked even more fear and mistrust between white slaveholders and black people in bondage. (Historians are still making new discoveries about the enslaved preacher and his rebels.)

As abolitionists challenged the institution of slavery from the North, enslaved people kept resisting in the South. In 1859, John Brown planned to arm up to 500 enslaved people after an attack on the United States arsenal at Harper’s Ferry in Virginia. Brown’s plan did not succeed and he was executed along with several co-conspirators. Nonetheless, the revolt has been called “a dress rehearsal for the Civil War,” and increasing tensions over slavery tipped the nation into chaos less than two years later.

“The revolts were all doomed from the start,” writes historian Joseph E. Holloway, “and yet slaves still revolted against insurmountable odds in the fight for their personal freedom and liberty.” Slave rebellions in British North America and the United States were all unsuccessful, but they underscored the cruelty of the institution—and fueled a sense of unease among those whose fortunes depended on the forced labor of others.

Significant slave rebellions in British North America and the United States include:


America's First Slave Revolt: Indians and African Slaves in Española, 1500–1534

On Christmas Day 1521, in the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo, the first recorded slave revolt in the Americas occurred. A group of African, likely Wolof, slaves came together with native Indians led by the Taíno cacique Enriquillo to assert their independence. Beyond being the first slave revolt in the Americas, it was also one of the most important moments in Colonial American history because it was the first known instance when Africans and Indians united against their Spanish overlords in the Americas. Little scholarship exists that focuses on the event, and what does exist concentrates on either the Indian or the African revolt without linking the two events. By overlooking the revolt and its origins, Latin American historiography perpetuates the portrayal of Española as a stepping stone or “antechamber” to the conquest of Mexico or Peru, only focusing on the initial discovery by Christopher Columbus before leaving the Caribbean behind. This essay addresses these silences by carefully examining the evolution of colonial society on Española using sources found in the Archivo General de Indias and recent archaeological studies. Among the themes I analyze in my article are the scope and meaning of the early indigenous slave trade the greater social, political, and cultural impact of the Caribbean slave trade from 1500 to 1530 the factors that prompted both the Indians and Africans to revolt and the roles played by the various religious groups on the island. This essay will serve as a case study of an event when Africans and Indians joined against a common enemy, thereby gaining their own agency and power. In the end, this study will be applicable to the larger Spanish colonial experience of cultural hybridization and the African and Indian diasporas.


Slave rebellions

Nossos editores irão revisar o que você enviou e determinar se o artigo deve ser revisado.

Slave rebellions, in the history of the Americas, periodic acts of violent resistance by Black slaves during nearly three centuries of chattel slavery. Such resistance signified continual deep-rooted discontent with the condition of bondage and, in some places, such as the United States, resulted in ever-more-stringent mechanisms for social control and repression in slaveholding areas. In other places, however, the rebellions sometimes contributed to a growing belief on the part of colonial authorities that the institution of slavery was becoming untenable.

In the United States, the myth of the contented slave was essential to the preservation of the South’s “peculiar institution,” and the historical record of rebellions was frequently clouded by exaggeration, censorship, and distortion. Estimates of the total number of slave revolts vary according to the definition of insurrection. For the two centuries preceding the American Civil War (1861–65), one historian found documentary evidence of more than 250 uprisings or attempted uprisings involving 10 or more slaves whose aim was personal freedom. Rebellions were also frequent throughout the Caribbean region and Latin America. Few slave rebellions were systematically planned, and most were merely spontaneous and quite short-lived disturbances by small groups of slaves. Such rebellions were usually attempted by male bondsmen and were often betrayed by house servants who identified more closely with their masters. Not all revolts had complete freedom as their aim some had relatively modest goals, such as better conditions or the time and the freedom to work part-time for themselves and their families.

A number of rebellions or attempted rebellions by slaves deserve special notice. Some of the earliest episodes occurred in the European colonies of the Caribbean and Latin America. At a sugar plantation in Veracruz in the Viceroyalty of New Spain (present-day Mexico), in 1570, Gaspar Yanga led the escape of his fellow slaves into nearby mountains. There they lived for nearly 40 years, arming and supplying themselves by means of raids on Spanish colonists. The Spanish colonial powers were aware of the community’s existence but made little progress against it until 1609, when they assembled troops to retake the former slaves. They razed the settlement and attacked Yanga and his followers, who took to the rainforest and waged guerrilla warfare against them. In the end, the Spanish agreed to a treaty that granted the former slaves their freedom and the right to create their own free settlement. In Veracruz they established the town of San Lorenzo de Los Negros (now called Yanga), the first settlement of freed African slaves in North America.

In late 1733 a massive revolt occurred on the Danish-controlled island of St. John (now in the U.S. Virgin Islands). Plantation slaves there took arms against Danish soldiers and colonists and eventually gained control of the majority of the island. They established their own rule, which lasted until French troops defeated the rebels in May 1734.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Jamaica, a British colony with many sugar plantations, was the frequent scene of revolts. One of the most notable took place in 1760 an uprising of hundreds of slaves, led by an enslaved man named Tacky, inspired others across the island during the same period. In 1831 Samuel Sharpe led a Christmas Day general strike for wages and better working conditions. After the strikers’ demands were ignored, however, the strike turned to open rebellion by tens of thousands of slaves, who looted and burned plantations into January 1832 before being defeated by British troops. The Baptist War (so called because Sharpe was a Baptist deacon) was one of the largest slave rebellions in the British West Indies and contributed to Britain’s abolition of slavery in 1833.

The Haitian Revolution was a series of conflicts that took place between 1791 and 1804. General unrest arose in the early 1790s from the conflicting interests of the various ethnic, racial, and political groups in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). A major slave revolt began in August 1791 and continued until France abolished slavery in February 1794. Leader and former slave Toussaint Louverture became governor-general in 1801. Napoleon Bonaparte reconquered Haiti in 1802. Napoleon’s expressed goal of restoring slavery prompted armies led by Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Henry Christophe to rise against the French and, after a bloody campaign, to defeat them. On January 1, 1804, Dessalines became the leader of the new country of Haiti, the world’s first state to arise from a slave rebellion.

The first large-scale conspiracy in the United States was conceived by Gabriel, an enslaved man in Virginia, in the summer of 1800. On August 30 more than 1,000 armed slaves massed for action near Richmond but were thwarted by a violent rainstorm. The slaves were forced to disband, and 35 were hanged, including Gabriel. The only free person to lead a rebellion was Denmark Vesey, an urban artisan of Charleston, South Carolina. Vesey’s rebellion (1822) was to have involved, according to some accounts, as many as 9,000 slaves from the surrounding area, but the conspiracy was betrayed in June before the plan could be effected. As a result, some 130 Blacks were arrested, of whom 35 (including Vesey) were hanged and 32 exiled before the end of the summer. The third notable slave rebellion was led by Nat Turner, at Southampton county, Virginia, in the summer of 1831. On the evening of August 21, Turner and a small band of slaves started their crusade against bondage, killing some 60 whites and attracting up to 75 fellow slaves to the conspiracy during the next few days. On the 24th, hundreds of militia and volunteers stopped the rebels near Jerusalem, the county seat, killing at least 40 and probably nearer 100. Turner was hanged on November 11. As usual, a new wave of unrest spread through the South, accompanied by corresponding fear among slaveholders and the passage of more repressive legislation directed against both slaves and free Blacks. Those measures were aimed particularly at restricting the education of Blacks, their freedom of movement and assembly, and the circulation of inflammatory printed material.

Although the slave rebellion known as the Amistad mutiny occurred on a slave ship off the coast of Cuba in the summer of 1839, the 53 African captives who revolted were captured and tried in the United States after their ship entered U.S. waters. Their legal victory in 1840 in a federal court in Connecticut, a state in which slavery was legal, was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the following year. With help from abolitionist and missionary groups, the Africans returned home to Sierra Leone in 1842.

Similar to the Amistad incident was an 1841 rebellion aboard a ship out of Virginia, the crioulo, that was transporting slaves to New Orleans. According to the legend that has grown up around him—if not strict historical fact—the leader of the uprising, Madison Washington, was a formerly enslaved man who had escaped successfully and fled to Canada. He had returned to Virginia for his wife but was recaptured there and put on a slave ship in Richmond. A bordo do crioulo, Washington and nearly 20 others led a revolt, gained control of the ship, and forced its crew to sail to the Bahamas. There, most of the slaves were freed the conspirators, including Washington, were taken into custody and tried for mutiny. They were found not guilty, and Washington was reunited with his wife, who, again according to legend, had been on the crioulo all the time, unbeknownst to him.

In the decades preceding the American Civil War, increasing numbers of discontented slaves escaped to the North or to Canada via the Underground Railroad network of antislavery advocates. Publicity in the North concerning Black rebellions and the influx of fugitive slaves helped to arouse wider sympathy for the plight of the slave and support for the abolition movement. In the European colonies of the Caribbean, slave resistance, rebellions, and revolution similarly contributed to the eventual abolition of slavery.


The Bittersweet Victory at Saint-Domingue

Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Illustration via Wikimedia Commons

This article supplements Episode 5 of The History of American Slavery, our inaugural Slate Academy. Please join Ardósia’s Jamelle Bouie and Rebecca Onion for a different kind of summer school. To learn more and to enroll, visit Slate.com/Academy.

In 1800, French traveler Pierre-Louis Duvallon prophesized that New Orleans was “destined by nature to become one of the principal cities of North America, and perhaps the most important place of commerce in the new world.” Projectors, visionaries, and investors who came to this city founded by the French in 1718 and ceded to the Spanish in 1763 could sense the same tremendous possible future. 1

Yet powerful empires had been determined to keep the city from the United States ever since the 13 colonies achieved their independence. Between 1783 and 1804, Spain repeatedly revoked the right of American settlers further upriver to export their products through New Orleans. Each time they did so, western settlers began to think about shifting their allegiances. Worried U.S. officials repeatedly tried to negotiate the sale and cession of the city near the Mississippi’s mouth, but Spain, trying to protect its own empire by containing the new nation’s growth, just as repeatedly rebuffed them. 2

Spain’s stubborn possession of the Mississippi’s mouth kept alive the possibility that the United States would rip itself apart. Yet something unexpected changed the course of history.

In 1791, Africans enslaved in the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue exploded in a revolt unprecedented in human history. Saint-Domingue, the western third of the island of Hispaniola, was at that time the ultimate sugar island, the imperial engine of French economic growth.* But on a single August night, the mill of that growth stopped turning. All across Saint-Domingue’s sugar country, the most profitable stretch of real estate on the planet, enslaved people burst into the country mansions. They slaughtered enslavers, set torches to sugar houses and cane fields, and then marched by the thousand on Cap-Francais, the seat of colonial rule. Thrown back, they regrouped. Revolt spread across the colony. 3

By the end of the year thousands of whites and blacks were dead. As the cane fields burned, the smoke blew into the Atlantic trade winds. Refugees fled to Charleston, already burdened by its own fear of slave revolt to Cuba and to all the corners of the Atlantic world. They brought wild-eyed tales of a world turned upside down. Europeans, in the throes of epistemological disarray because of the French Revolution’s overthrow of a throne more than a millennium old, reacted to these events with a different but still profound confusion. Minor slave rebellions were one thing. Total African victory was another thing entirely—it was so incomprehensible, in fact, that European thinkers, who couldn’t stop talking about the revolution in France, clammed up about Saint-Domingue. The German philosopher Georg Hegel, for instance, who was in the process of constructing an entire system of thought around the idealized, classical image of a slave rebelling against a master, never spoke of the slave rebellion going on in the real world. Even as reports of fire and blood splattered every weekly newspaper he read, he insisted that African people were irrelevant to a future that would be shaped by the newly free citizens of European nation-states. 4

Yet the revolution in Saint-Domingue was making a modern world. Today, Saint-Domingue is called Haiti, and it is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. But Haiti’s revolutionary birth was the most revolutionary revolution in an age of them. By the time it was over, these people, once seemingly crushed between the rollers of European empire, ruled the country in which they had been enslaved. Their citizenship would be (at least in theory) the most radically equal yet. And the events they pushed forward in the Caribbean drove French revolutionaries in the National Assembly to take steadily more radical positions—such as emancipating all French slaves in 1794, in an attempt to keep Saint-Domingue’s economic powerhouse on the side of the new leaders in Paris. Already, however, the slave revolution itself had killed slavery on the island. An ex-slave named Toussaint Louverture had welded bands of rampaging rebels into an army that could defend their revolution from European powers who wanted to make it disappear. Between 1794 and 1799, his army defeated an invasion of tens of thousands of anti-revolutionary British Redcoats. 5

By 1800, Saint-Domingue, though nominally still part of the French Republic, was essentially an independent country. In his letters to Paris, Toussaint Louverture styled himself the “First of the Blacks.” He was communicating with a man rated the First in France—Napoleon Bonaparte, first consul of the Republic, another charismatic man who had risen from obscure origins. Napoleon, an entrepreneur in the world of politics and war, rather than business, used his military victories to destroy old ways of doing things. Then he tried to create new ones: a new international order, a new economy, a new set of laws, a new Europe—and a new empire. But after he concluded the Peace of Amiens with Britain in 1800, the ostensible republican became monarchical. He set his sights on a new goal: restoring the imperial crown’s finest jewel, the lost Saint-Domingue. In 1801, he sent the largest invasion fleet that ever crossed the Atlantic, some 50,000 men, to the island under the leadership of his brother-in-law Charles LeClerc. Their mission was to decapitate the ex-slave leadership of Saint-Domingue. “No more gilded Africans,” Napoleon commanded. Subdue any resistance by deception and force. Return to slavery all the Africans who survived. 6

Napoleon had also assembled a second army, and he had given it a second assignment. In 1800, he had concluded a secret treaty that “retroceded” Louisiana to French control after 37 years in Spanish hands. This second army was to go to Louisiana and plant the French flag. And at 20,000 men strong, it was larger than the entire U.S. Army. Napoleon had already conquered one revolutionary republic from within. He was sending a mighty army to take another by brute force. 7

In Washington, Jefferson heard rumors of the secret treaty. To keep alive his utopian plans for a westward-expanding republic of independent white men, he was already compromising with slavery’s expansion. Now he saw another looming choice between hypocritical compromise and destruction. As Jefferson now instructed his envoy to Paris, Robert Livingston, “there is on the globe one single spot, the possessor of which is our natural and habitual enemy. It is New Orleans.” Jefferson had to open the Mississippi one way or another. Should a French army occupy New Orleans, wrote Jefferson, “we must marry ourselves to the British fleet and nation.” 8

Napoleon had his own visions. He ignored Jefferson’s initial offer for the city at the mouth of the Mississippi. So the president sent future president James Monroe with a higher bid: $10 million for the city and its immediate surroundings. Yet, in the end, Paris would not decide this deal. When Le- Clerc’s massive army had disembarked in Saint-Domingue, the French found Cap-Francais a smoldering ruin, burned as part of scorched-earth strategy. LeClerc successfully captured Toussaint by deception and packed him off to France to be imprisoned in a fortress in the Jura Mountains. Resistance, however, did not cease. The army Louverture had built began to win battles over the one Napoleon had sent. French generals turned to genocide, murdering thousands of suspected rebels and their families. The terror provoked fiercer resistance, which—along with yellow fever and malaria—killed thousands of French soldiers, including LeClerc.


First Slave Revolt - History

Freedom & rsquos Story foi possível graças a uma bolsa da Fundação Wachovia.

James H. Sweet
Professor, Department of History
University of Wisconsin&ndashMadison
Bolsista do National Humanities Center
e cópia Centro Nacional de Humanidades

Slave resistance began in British North America almost as soon as the first slaves arrived in the Chesapeake in the early seventeenth century. As one scholar has put it, &ldquoslaves &lsquonaturally&rsquo resisted their enslavement because slavery was fundamentally unnatural.&rdquo 1 Forms varied, but the common denominator in all acts of resistance was an attempt to claim some measure of freedom against an institution that defined people fundamentally as property. Perhaps the most common forms of resistance were those that took place in the work environment. After all, slavery was ultimately about coerced labor, and the enslaved struggled daily to define the terms of their work. Over the years, customary rights emerged in most fields of production. These customs dictated work routines, distribution of rations, general rules of comportment, and so on. If slave masters increased workloads, provided meager rations, or punished too severely, slaves registered their displeasure by slowing work, feigning illness, breaking tools, or sabotaging production. These everyday forms of resistance vexed slave masters, but there was little they could do to stop them without risking more widespread breaks in production. In this way, the enslaved often negotiated the basic terms of their daily routines. Of course, masters also stood to benefit from these negotiations, as contented slaves worked harder, increasing output and efficiency.

Another common form of slave resistance was theft. Slaves pilfered fruits, vegetables, livestock, tobacco, liquor, and money from their masters. The theft of foodstuffs was especially common and was justified on several grounds. First, slave rations were often woefully inadequate in providing the nutrition and calories necessary to support the daily exertions of plantation labor. Hungry slaves reasoned that the master&rsquos abundance should be shared with those who produced it. Second, slaves recognized the inherent contradiction of the master&rsquos &ldquotheft&rdquo accusations. How could slaves, who were themselves the master&rsquos property, &ldquosteal&rdquo anything that the master owned? After all, the master&rsquos ownership claims over the slave meant that he owned everything that the slave &ldquoowned.&rdquo When a slave staked claim to a master&rsquos chicken, he merely transferred it to his stomach, or as Frederick Douglass put it, the slave was simply &ldquotaking [the master&rsquos] meat out of one tub and putting it in another.&rdquo 2

In addition to everyday forms of resistance, slaves sometimes staked more direct and overt claims to freedom. The most common form of overt resistance was flight. As early as 1640, slaves in Maryland and Virginia absconded from their enslavement, a trend that would grow into the thousands, and, eventually, tens of thousands by the time of the Civil War. During the early years of slavery, runaways tended to consist mostly of African-born males. Since African-born men were in the numerical majority through much of the eighteenth century, this should not surprise us. For the most part, these men did not speak English and were unfamiliar with the geographic terrain of North America. Their attempts to escape slavery, despite these handicaps, are a testament to the rejection of their servile condition. If caught, runaways faced certain punishment&mdashwhipping, branding, and even the severing of the Achilles tendon. Those lucky enough to evade detection sought sanctuary in a variety of safe havens&mdashNative American communities, marshy lowlands like the Great Dismal Swamp along the Virginia/North Carolina coastal border, and, eventually, Canada and the free states of the American North. By the nineteenth century, the North was a particularly attractive destination for acculturated, American-born slaves. Networks of free blacks and sympathetic whites often helped ferry slaves to freedom via the so-called Underground Railroad, a chain of safe houses that stretched from the American South to free states in the North. Men continued to be predominant among runaways, although women, and even entire families were increasingly likely to test their chances in the flight for freedom. As the Civil War unfolded, many slaves abandoned their masters&rsquo plantations, sometimes joining the Union army in what many perceived to be a war to end slavery forever.

The most spectacular, and perhaps best-known, forms of resistance were organized, armed rebellions. Between 1691 and 1865, at least nine slave revolts erupted in what would eventually become the United States. The most prominent of these occurred in New York City (1712), Stono, South Carolina (1739), New Orleans (1811), and Southampton, Virginia (Nat Turner&rsquos 1831 rebellion). Numerous other conspiracies were thwarted before they could be fully realized, including Gabriel Prosser&rsquos (Richmond, VA, 1800) and Denmark Vesey&rsquos (Charleston, SC, 1822). Slaves commandeered weapons, burned and looted properties, and even killed their masters and other whites, but whites were quick to exact a brutal revenge. In the bloodiest American revolt, Nat Turner and several hundred comrades killed sixty whites. Over 100 enslaved were killed, either in the combat or as retribution for the uprising. Another thirteen slaves were hanged, along with three free blacks. If the measure of a revolt&rsquos success was the overthrow of slavery, then none of these revolts succeeded. Ultimately, the only rebellion that succeeded in overthrowing slavery in the Americas was the Haitian Revolution. Slave rebellions in colonial America and the United States never achieved such widespread success however, the importance of rebellion cannot be overstated. The constant specter of physical violence reminded whites that slavery would never go unchallenged the possibility of &ldquoanother Haiti&rdquo loomed large, especially in the nineteenth-century American South.

Orientando a discussão do aluno

An excellent starting point for any discussion of slave resistance is a simple definition. For students (and many scholars), the term &ldquoslave resistance&rdquo often conjures notions of enslaved peoples on the barricades, taking up arms against their masters in rebellious acts of violence. In the contemporary imagination, it is comforting to think that the enslaved frequently exacted some measure of revenge against the unspeakable horrors that they suffered. Award-winning historical novels highlight the Nat Turner rebellion and the Haitian Revolution. 3 Similarly, Hollywood celebrates the victories of the Amistad Africans and Toussaint L&rsquoOuverture in Haiti. 4 Students will likely begin to define resistance by these historical markers, but they should be pushed beyond slave revolts. To be sure, organized physical violence was one aspect of resistance, and these episodes deserve an important place in the curriculum. Remind them, however, that organized, armed violence was a relatively rare occurrence during the 350-year history of slavery in the United States. Why were armed rebellions so infrequent?

Slave masters monopolized armed power, severely restricting slaves&rsquo access to weapons. Slave masters also closely monitored their slaves&rsquo activities, limiting their movement and freedom of association. Under these circumstances, organization and planning were next to impossible. On those rare occasions when the enslaved escaped their masters&rsquo purview, they faced yet other mechanisms of white control&mdashmilitias, local patrols, and vigilantes. Rebels who avoided the net of surveillance and enacted their conspiracies were always dealt with in brutal fashion. Public hangings and decapitation were common punishments. Other rebels were gibbeted alive, burned alive, or broken on the wheel. In all of these instances, punishment was meant to demonstrate the totalizing effects of white supremacy, terrorizing those who remained enslaved. Remarkably, some slaves still embarked on what they must have known were suicide missions. Were the men and women who confronted their masters with violence so desperate that they preferred death to living in slavery? Or, did they really believe that they could be the exception and overthrow white supremacy? These are important questions to consider.

These questions also begin to point students toward the psychology of enslavement, an important and often neglected aspect of the institution and responses to it. Psychologically, how did the majority of slaves interpret the institution? (And for that matter, how did whites?) If hardened firebrands like Nat Turner represented one response, then the broken, submissive &ldquoSambo&rdquo probably represented another. Slavery impacted negatively on all slaves, but it did not impact all of them equally. The enslaved possessed the range of weaknesses and frailties common to all people. To deny that some suffered deep psychological wounds would be to deny their very humanity, reinforcing the master&rsquos belief that slaves were little affected by the institution&rsquos daily violence. In fact, the vast majority of enslaved probably fell between the two psychological extremes of &ldquoNat&rdquo and &ldquoSambo,&rdquo coping with the horrors and indignities of slavery as best they could, building lives dentro de the corrosive confines of the institution. For this majority of slaves, resistance took a variety of forms.

If organized physical violence was not the solution for most slaves, then how did the majority find ways to address their condition? If they have not already done so, students will usually recognize that running away was the most common way of overtly rejecting slavery. By the nineteenth century, running away to the North offered the virtue of a tenuous freedom however, failed runaways also met with serious reprisals. Most did not try to escape. For those who remained enslaved, resistance took on more familiar everyday forms. When discussing everyday forms of resistance, challenge students to think about whether strategies like work slowdowns, breaking tools, or even petty theft were actually &ldquoresistance.&rdquo Here, it is important to distinguish between those acts that were aimed at ending one&rsquos enslavement&mdashrunning away, rebellion, etc.&mdashversus those that were intended to improve one&rsquos daily condition inside the institution. Ask students: When the enslaved slowed their work or broke tools, were they resisting the overall institution of slavery or just the work of slavery? Can these be distinguished? Remind students that slave masters sometimes begrudgingly tolerated these everyday forms of resistance and even responded positively to slave workplace demands. Porque? These negotiated compromises provided slaves with incentives to work, ultimately bolstering the institution. For slave masters, acknowledging these small pin pricks of resistance were a small price to pay in order to secure the survival of the overall institution.

Some students likely will not buy the argument that everyday forms of resistance reinforced the institution. Encourage them to unravel exactly why they think this. The best students will recognize that even the smallest acts of resistance pushed the boundaries of freedom, slowly eroding the institution. Smile at them and then turn to an even more obvious example. What about theft? Of course, stealing from the master MUST have been resistance. But what if a starving slave&rsquos stolen food provided the sustenance that allowed him to work another day? Didn&rsquot this actually reinforce the institution? Even some of the enslaved seemed to acknowledge that this was the case. As Frederick Douglass noted, stealing was simply &ldquotaking meat out of one tub and putting it in another.&rdquo When slaves rationalized theft in these terms, weren&rsquot they adopting the master&rsquos definition of them as property? Or were they cleverly manipulating the contradictions inherent to the institution?

Finally, as one last consideration of everyday forms of resistance, you might ask your students whether cultural forms like the speaking of African languages, the formation of families, or the practice of religion constituted resistance to slavery. Embedded in each of these were the potential for overt forms of resistance. For instance, those speaking African languages might plan conspiracies or revolts in those languages, thereby hiding their intentions from whites. The formation of families defied notions of property, sometimes making it difficult for masters to sell husbands, wives, and children, who vehemently protested separation from their loved ones. And religion could be used to justify liberation from the &ldquosorcery&rdquo or &ldquosin&rdquo of enslavement. Some slave masters recognized the potential dangers in these cultural expressions and attempted to curb their practices. Others viewed African and African-American cultural practices as vital ways of appeasing slaves so they would be more efficient workers. Did the master have to prohibit a particular cultural form in order for its practice to be considered resistant? Or were all cultural expressions a form of resistance? Certainly there is an argument to be made that algum assertion of humanity in an institution that defined one as non-human was an expression of resistance. At the same time, slaves were ultimately human beings and expressed themselves naturally as such, even within the confines of slavery. To suggest that slaves were always on the barricades, consciously resisting at every turn, risks reinforcing the master&rsquos assertions that slaves were less than human.

Students probably will end up disagreeing about the precise definition of slave resistance. Considerations of whether certain behaviors were resistant or not will continuously run into conceptual dead ends. Ultimately, students will turn to the instructor to place some closure on these debates. In concluding this discussion there are two key points that must be emphasized: 1) the distinction between forms of resistance that rejected the institution of slavery (rebellion, running away) and forms of resistance that took place within the institution (everyday forms) and 2) the recognition that the very definition of slavery (&ldquoproperty&rdquo) meant that almost any action or behavior on the parts of slaves could potentially be interpreted as resistance.

As a group, slaves constantly pushed their masters and overseers to grant them greater freedoms. This was only natural. When masters refused, slaves punctuated everyday forms of resistance with more overt expressions like running away or rebellion. The threat of flight or violence always hung over the institution, despite the infrequency of such acts. Ultimately, the moral bankruptcy of slavery meant that even the smallest, most mundane acts could be considered resistant, but the enslaved did not live in a constantly reactionary state, awaiting their white masters before determining their next resistant move. The vast majority coped, endured, and lived their lives, avoiding the slings and arrows of white power as best they could.

The study of slave resistance gained its contemporary impetus from works published in the 1940s and 1950s. Herbert Aptheker&rsquos path breaking American Negro Slave Revolts (1943) argued that the brutality of slavery provoked more than 200 rebellions and conspiracies in British North America and the United States. Aptheker, who never held a permanent academic position in the United States, was rejected by many as a radical communist. Though he may have exaggerated the number of uprisings, Aptheker&rsquos work squarely challenged the prevailing sentiment in the American academic establishment that slaves responded to their inhumane treatment in a passive fashion. Widely criticized at the time of its publication, the work is now acknowledged as the platform upon which all other studies of slave resistance have been built.

The idea of slaves as submissive and content dated as far back as Ulrich B. Phillips&rsquo, American Negro Slavery (1918) but persisted well into the 1950s, culminating with Stanley Elkins&rsquo Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life (1959). In this work, Elkins concluded that the majority of American slaves adopted the &ldquoSambo&rdquo personality&mdashdocile, submissive, child-like, loyal, and utterly dependent on their masters. Elkins did not argue that slaves were naturally this way rather, he argued that the institution of slavery transformed their personalities in much the same way as occurred among prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.

By the late 1960s and 1970s, a number of scholars began assaulting the Sambo monolith. John Blassingame&rsquos The Slave Community (1972) identified a range of personality types among slaves, noting that Sambo and Nat [Turner] were stereotypes so contrary to one another &ldquothat the legitimacy of each as a representation of typical slave behavior is limited.&rdquo 5 Other authors focused more directly on rebellion, including John Lofton, Insurrection in South Carolina: The Turbulent World of Denmark Vesey (1964), Eugene Genovese, From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the New World (1968), and William Styron&rsquos fictional account, The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967), which provoked a strong critique from scholars who accused Styron of sanitizing slavery and portraying Turner as sexually depraved. These critiques can be found in John Henrik Clarke, ed., William Styron&rsquos Nat Turner: Ten Black Scholars Respond (1968).

For a detailed history of runaway slaves, see John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation (2000). Also see the remarkable story of Shadrach Minkins, who ran away from slavery in Virginia, only to be captured in Boston in 1851 under the Fugitive Slave Law. Before his case could be heard, a group of black citizens invaded the court room and stole Minkins to freedom in Canada, where he helped establish a community for runaway slaves in Montreal. See Gary Collison, Shadrach Minkins: From Fugitive Slave to Citizen (1998).

Some of best work on slave resistance in recent years focuses on the African backgrounds of the enslaved. Through language, kinship, religion, and so on, Africans recreated aspects of their pasts in North America. Some of these forms were expressed as resistance&mdashthrough &ldquosorcery,&rdquo Islam, running away, and even suicide. For the best works on African forms of resistance in North America, see Sterling Stuckey, Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America (1987), Michael A. Gomez, Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South (1998), and Walter C. Rucker, The River Flows On: Black Resistance, Culture and Identity Formation in Early America (2005).

Most scholars now accept that the enslaved &ldquonaturally&rdquo resisted slavery. That being the case, it is impossible to be exhaustive in describing the numerous approaches and contributions to studies of slave resistance. This overview only barely scratches the surface students are encouraged to consult more specific works through the bibliographies of the works listed here, as well as through general bibliographies of slavery.

1 Franklin W. Knight, &ldquoSlavery,&rdquo in Colin A. Palmer, ed., Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (New York: Thompson/Gale, 2006), 2066.

2 Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (New York: Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 1855), 189&ndash191.

3 William Styron, The Confessions of Nat Turner (New York: Random House, 1967), won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1968 Madison Smartt Bell, All Souls&rsquo Rising (New York: Pantheon, 1995), was a National Book Award finalist in 1995.

4 Amistad (1997), Director: Steven Spielberg Toussaint (forthcoming, 2011), Director: Danny Glover.

5 John W. Blassingame, The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972), 141.

James H. Sweet is associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin&ndashMadison. He was a National Humanities Center Fellow in 2006&ndash07. His book, Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441&ndash1770, was the recipient of the 2004 Wesley Logan Prize, awarded by the American Historical Association. Sweet is completing a book manuscript tentatively titled, &ldquoToday He Cures Tomorrow He Kills&rdquo: Domingos Alvares and the Politics of Public Healing in the Atlantic World, 1700&ndash1750.


Assista o vídeo: REVOLTAS REPUBLICANAS PARA O ENEM - Aula #14