Lead: In August 1831 the southside Virginia county of Southhampton was convulsed by the deadliest slave rebellion in North American history. One of roots of the rebellion was Southern white ambivalence about slavery.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Despite the growing economic dependence upon slave labor in the American South after the Revolution, there was powerful ambivalence among many Southerners about the institution of slavery. It mocked the philosophical foundation of the republic itself, violating the principles animating the Declaration of Independence. Many religious groups were increasingly vocal about the immorality of slavery. Quakers, anti-slavery Baptists, and, before 1800, Methodists vigorously denounced the practice and encouraged slave owners to manumit their slaves. In the North, slavery was gradually eliminated by custom, sentiment, and legal prohibition, so that the South became increasingly isolated in the national debate.

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