American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt

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American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt

Author: Daniel Rasmussen
Publisher: Harper
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 288
Cover Price: $ 26.99

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In January 1811, five hundred slaves, dressed in military uniforms and armed with guns, cane knives, and axes, rose up from the plantations around New Orleans and set out to conquer the city. Ethnically diverse, politically astute, and highly organized, this self-made army challenged not only the economic system of plantation agriculture but also American expansion. Their march represented the largest act of armed resistance against slavery in the history of the United States.

American Uprising is the riveting and long-neglected story of this elaborate plot, the rebel army's dramatic march on the city, and its shocking conclusion. No North American slave uprising—not Gabriel Prosser's, not Denmark Vesey's, not Nat Turner's—has rivaled the scale of this rebellion either in terms of the number of the slaves involved or the number who were killed. More than one hundred slaves were slaughtered by federal troops and French planters, who then sought to write the event out of history and prevent the spread of the slaves' revolutionary philosophy. With the Haitian revolution a recent memory and the War of 1812 looming on the horizon, the revolt had epic consequences for America.

Through groundbreaking original research, Daniel Rasmussen offers a window into the young, expansionist country, illuminating the early history of New Orleans and providing new insight into the path to the Civil War and the slave revolutionaries who fought and died for justice and the hope of freedom.

Background Information

New Orleans, near the mouth of the Mississippi, was the principal city in French America and became the capital of the state of Louisiana. American slaves were almost entirely African and formed the basis of the cotton economy of the South until the Civil War. In 1831, Nat Turner led a rebellion of slaves that killed more whites than any other slave uprising in the ante bellum South and for which Turner was executed. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 only deferred and did not eliminate the deep divide in philosophical and economic feelings about slavery and its extension to new territories.