Causes Of The Cato Rebellion

901 Words4 Pages
A second uprising, Cato’s Conspiracy, originated in Stono, South Carolina, in 1739. England at this time was at war with Spain, and a group of about eighty slaves took up arms and attempted to march to Spanish Florida, where they expected to find refuge. A battle ensued when they were overtaken by armed whites. Some forty-four blacks and twenty-one whites were killed.
The Stono Rebellion was the largest rebellion mounted by slaves against slave owners in colonial America. The Stono Rebellion's location took place near the Stono River in South Carolina. The details of the 1739 event are uncertain, as documentation for the incident comes from only one firsthand report and several secondhand reports. White Carolinians wrote these records, and
…show more content…
Reports in local newspapers of impending legislation may have also prompted the rebellion. South Carolinians were contemplating passing the Security Act, which would have required all white men to take their firearms with them to church on Sunday, presumably in case unrest among a group of slaves broke out. Sunday had been traditionally a day when the slave owners set aside their weapons for church attendance and allowed their slaves to work for themselves.

The Negro Act

The rebels fought well, which, as historian John K. Thornton speculates, may have been because they had a military background in their homeland. The areas of Africa where they had been sold into slavery were experiencing intense civil wars, and a number of ex-soldiers found themselves enslaved after surrendering to their enemies.

South Carolinians thought it was possible that the slaves' African origins had contributed to the rebellion. Part of the 1740 Negro Act, passed in response to the rebellion, was a prohibition on importing slaves directly from Africa. South Carolina also wanted to slow the rate of importation down; African-Americans outnumbered whites in South Carolina, and South Carolinians lived in fear of
…show more content…
In his book American Negro Slave Revolts (1943), historian Herbert Aptheker estimates that over 250 slave rebellions occurred in the United States between 1619 and 1865. Some of these insurrections were as terrifying for slave owners as Stono, such as the Gabriel Prosser slave revolt in 1800, Vesey's rebellion in 1822 and Nat Turner's rebellion in 1831. When slaves were unable to rebel directly, they performed subtle acts of resistance, ranging from work slow-downs to feigning illness. The Stono River Rebellion is a tribute to the ongoing, determined resistance of African-Americans to the oppressive system of
Open Document