Catalogue


Gabriel's rebellion : the Virginia slave conspiracies of 1800 and 1802 /
Douglas R. Egerton.
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c1993.
description
xiii, 262 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0807821136 (alk. paper) 0807844225 (pbk. : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c1993.
isbn
0807821136 (alk. paper) 0807844225 (pbk. : alk. paper)
catalogue key
242838
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [237]-252) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1994-02:
The Gabriel conspiracy of 1800, followed by the abortive Sancho uprising of 1802, were the most extensive attempts by slaves to gain freedom from white authority during the antebellum period. Gabriel, a tall, powerfully built slave owned by Thomas Prosser of Brookfield plantation, near Richmond, was a literate and skilled blacksmith. Possessing an egalitarian worldview, Gabriel organized freedmen, "wage-slaves," and mechanics to destroy the power of the white merchant class. However, the conspiracy fell apart for several reasons. Because of lax security, lists of members' names were captured. Gabriel failed to understand that revolutionary freedom was restricted to white males. His decision not to use West African folk religion to attract workers from the plantations was also a factor that doomed the uprising. Individual blacks confessed to save themselves; 27 slaves, including Gabriel, paid with their lives. Rebellious blacks, particularly those involved in the river trade where they had more freedom, tried to unite in a second attempt during Easter season of 1802. Again, there was loose organization and a lack of secure planning, with predictable results. Another 25 participants were executed. An alarmed legislature debated the status of slavery in Virginia between 1801 and 1805. Conservative legislators created a policy of repressive laws that defeated all efforts for reform. Appendix; notes. Advanced undergraduates and above. J. D. Born Jr.; Wichita State University
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1993-09-06:
In a volume certain to provoke debate, Egerton ( Charles Fenton Mercer and the Trial of National Conservatism ) analyzes two important slave revolts of the early 19th century as having to do with economics and class as much as with slavery and race. The more important of the two revolts was led by Gabriel Prosser, a much mythologized figure whom Egerton tries to recover from his murky past. As reconstructed by Egerton, Gabriel was a blacksmith whose skill gave him a special status--he was allowed to hire himself out off the plantation; he led his rebellion against the white merchant class, who exploited laborers like himself. Betrayed by one of those involved, the revolt failed; Gabriel was summarily tried and hanged. Two years later, Sancho, another slave who had been peripherally involved in the Gabriel plot, also planned a rebellion. This attempt met with similar results, and Sancho followed Gabriel to the grave. Well written and meticulously documented, the account of these two abortive revolutions will hold the interest of students and lay readers alike. In the end, however, the book fails in its intention to refute considerable evidence offered by other scholars that Gabriel was religiously motivated. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
Will be regarded as the definitive work on the plots of 1800 and 1802. American Historical Review
A significant contribution. Australasian Journal of American Studies
May well be the definitive work on its subject. . . . Egerton's work in primary materials, archival and otherwise, is unparalleled.Daniel C. Littlefield, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
May well be the definitive work on its subject. . . . Egerton's work in primary materials, archival and otherwise, is unparalleled. Daniel C. Littlefield, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Well written and meticulously documented, the account . . . will hold the interest of students and lay readers alike.Publishers Weekly
Well written and meticulously documented, the account . . . will hold the interest of students and lay readers alike. Publishers Weekly
Will be regarded as the definitive work on the plots of 1800 and 1802.American Historical Review
A masterful account of the Easter conspiracy in 1802, barely mentioned in history textbooks. Arkansas Historical Quarterly
A significant contribution.Australasian Journal of American Studies
A masterful account of the Easter conspiracy in 1802, barely mentioned in history textbooks.Arkansas Historical Quarterly
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, September 1993
Choice, February 1994
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
Gabriel's Rebellion tells the dramatic story of what was perhaps the most extensive slave conspiracy in the history of the American South. Douglas Egerton illuminates the complex motivations that underlay two related Virginia slave revolts: the first, in 1800, led by the slave known as Gabriel; and the second, called the 'Easter Plot,' instigated in 1802 by one of his followers. Although Gabriel has frequently been portrayed as a messianic, Samson-like figure, Egerton shows that he was a literate and highly skilled blacksmith whose primary goal was to destroy the economic hegemony of the 'merchants,' the only whites he ever identified as his enemies. According to Egerton, the social, political, and economic disorder of the Revolutionary era weakened some of the harsh controls that held slavery in place during colonial times. Emboldened by these conditions, a small number of literate slaves--most of them highly skilled artisans--planned an armed insurrection aimed at destroying slavery in Virginia. The intricate scheme failed, as did the Easter Plot that stemmed from it, and Gabriel and many of his followers were hanged. By placing the revolts within the broader context of the volatile political currents of the day, Egerton challenges the conventional understanding of race, class, and politics in the early days of the American republic.
Table of Contents
Contents
Prefacep. ix
Richmond 1800
The Revolutionary Stormp. 3
An Upright Manp. 18
The Year 1800p. 34
The Preparationp. 50
A Plot Discoveredp. 69
Cemeteries Take What Is Given Themp. 80
A Companion Picturep. 95
Halifax 1802
Recalled to Lifep. 119
The Footsteps Die Outp. 132
A Place of Asylump. 147
The Power in That Namep. 163
Gabriel's Religionp. 179
The Frenchmenp. 147
Slaves Executedp. 186
Notesp. 189
Bibliographyp. 237
Indexp. 253
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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