From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the Modern World

LSU Press
Free sample

In perhaps his most provocative book Eugene Genovese examines the slave revolts of the New World and places them in the context of modern world history. By studying the conditions that favored these revolts and the history of slave guerrilla warfare throughout the western hemisphere, he connects the ideology of the revolts to that of the great revolutionary movements of the late eighteenth century.
Genovese argues compellingly that the slave revolts of the New World shaped the democratic character of contemporary European struggles just as forcefully as European struggles influenced New World rebellion. The revolts, however, had a different purpose before as well as after the era of the French Revolution. Before, their goals were restoration of African-type village communities and local autonomy; after, they merged with larger national and international revolutionary movements and had profound effect on the shaping of modern world politics.
Toussaint L'Ouverture's brilliant leadership of the successful slave revolt in Saint-Dominique constitutes, for Genovese, a turning point in the history of slave revolts, and, indeed, in the history of the human spirit. By claiming for his enslaved brothers and sisters the same right to human dignity that the French bourgeoisie claimed for itself, Toussiant began the process by which slave uprisings changed from secessionist rebellions to revolutionary demands for liberty, equality, and justice.
Those who have taken issue with Genovesse before will find little in From Rebellion to Revolution to change their minds. The book is sure to be widely read, hotly debated, and a major influence on the way future historians view slavery.
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About the author

Eugene Genovese, professor of history at the University of Rochester, is editor of Marxist Perspectives, a fellow of the Academy of Arts & Science, and a past president of the Organization of American Historians. His books include Roll, Jordon, Roll (for which he received a Bancroft Prize in 1975), The Political Economy of Slavery, The World the Slaveholders Made, and In Red & Black. He is also the editor of the two volumes by Ulrich Bonnell Phillips published by Louisiana State University Press, American Negro Slavery and The Slave Economy of the Old South.

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Additional Information

Publisher
LSU Press
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Published on
Jan 1, 1992
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Pages
200
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ISBN
9780807148136
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / State & Local / South (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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From John Hope Franklin, America's foremost African American historian, comes this groundbreaking analysis of slave resistance and escape. A sweeping panorama of plantation life before the Civil War, this book reveals that slaves frequently rebelled against their masters and ran away from their plantations whenever they could. For generations, important aspects about slave life on the plantations of the American South have remained shrouded. Historians thought, for instance, that slaves were generally pliant and resigned to their roles as human chattel, and that racial violence on the plantation was an aberration. In this precedent setting book, John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger demonstrate that, contrary to popular belief, significant numbers of slaves did in fact frequently rebel against their masters and struggled to attain their freedom. By surveying a wealth of documents, such as planters' records, petitions to county courts and state legislatures, and local newspapers, this book shows how slaves resisted, when, where, and how they escaped, where they fled to, how long they remained in hiding, and how they survived away from the plantation. Of equal importance, it examines the reactions of the white slaveholding class, revealing how they marshaled considerable effort to prevent runaways, meted out severe punishments, and established patrols to hunt down escaped slaves. Reflecting a lifetime of thought by our leading authority in African American history, this book provides the key to truly understanding the relationship between slaveholders and the runaways who challenged the system--illuminating as never before the true nature of the South's "most peculiar institution."
The fall of the Confederacy proved traumatic for a people who fought with the belief that God was on their side. Yet, as Eugene D. Genovese writes in A Consuming Fire, Southern Christians continued to trust in the Lord's will. The churches had long defended "southern rights" and insisted upon the divine sanction for slavery, but they also warned that God was testing His people, who must bring slavery up to biblical standards or face the wrath of an angry God.

In the eyes of proslavery theorists, clerical and lay, social relations and material conditions affected the extent and pace of the spread of the Gospel and men's preparation to receive it. For proslavery spokesmen, "Christian slavery" offered the South, indeed the world, the best hope for the vital work of preparation for the Kingdom, but they acknowledged that, from a Christian point of view, the slavery practiced in the South left much to be desired. For them, the struggle to reform, or rather transform, social relations was nothing less than a struggle to justify the trust God placed in them when He sanctioned slavery.

The reform campaign of prominent ministers and church laymen featured demands to secure slave marriages and family life, repeal the laws against slave literacy, and punish cruel masters. A Consuming Fire analyzes the strength, weakness, and failure of the struggle for reform and the nature and significance of southern Christian orthodoxy and its vision of a proper social order, class structure, and race relations.

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