ReviewEssays.com - Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays
Search

What Impact Did the Sam Sharpe Christmas Rebellion Have on the Emancipation of Slavery in the British West Indies?

Essay by   •  October 19, 2015  •  Research Paper  •  1,845 Words (8 Pages)  •  2,337 Views

Essay Preview: What Impact Did the Sam Sharpe Christmas Rebellion Have on the Emancipation of Slavery in the British West Indies?

1 rating(s)
Report this essay
Page 1 of 8

TABLE OF CONTENT

Title                                                                                        Pages

Acknowledgement…………………………………………………………………… 2

Preface…………….………………………………………………………………….. 3

Rationale…………………………………………………………………………….   4

Introduction………………………………………………………………………… 5

Body…………….…………………………………………………………………..  6

Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………. 10

Appendix…………………………………………………………………………...  11

Bibliography………………………………………………………………………..  13

Acknowledgement

This research would have not been successfully completed without the assistance of my parents. I would like to take the opportunity to thank my cousin for his assistance in helping me to complete this S.B.A. and also my teacher for her guided support throughout the study.

RESEARCH QUESTION

What impact did the Sam Sharpe Christmas Rebellion have on the Emancipation of slavery in the British West Indies?

OBJECTIVES

  • To determine what led to the Christmas rebellion
  • To determine whether the emancipation of slaves was stimulated by the rebellions.

THEME:  Slave Rebellion and Emancipation 

Rationale

Revolts by slaves were common in countries where slavery was practiced. Slavery was indeed an interesting period in the Caribbean and was nothing to be adored as it only brought bitterness for the enslaved individuals.  

This research will enhance my knowledge and educate readers about the slave rebellion and how it impacted the emancipation of slaves in the British Caribbean.

Introduction

The Caribbean History will forever be engraved with the epic tale of the horrible treatment which was meted out to slaves. The rise of reform movements helped lead to state-imposed emancipation in British colonies like Jamaica and Barbados during the 1830s.  However, when full Emancipation came in 1838 a system that had been tried and tested in the Caribbean since the sixteenth century came to an end.

Slavery had within itself the seeds of its own destruction, whether because slaves resisted it or due to the emergence of a new style capitalism, it made slavery obsolete or incompatible with British industrial society, or whether the merging of humanity with evangelical religion helped to frame an ideology that was antagonistic to slavery.

Body

The outstanding leader of the 1831 Christmas slave revolt, often referred to as the 'Baptist War' because of the denomination of most participants, was Deacon Samuel 'Daddy' Sharpe. Sharpe argued that the Bible proclaimed the natural equality of men, and denied the right of whites to hold blacks in bondage. He persistently quoted the text, 'No man can serve two masters', which became a slogan among slaves. Sharpe, a Baptist preacher, was literate, unlike many of his fellow slaves. This was one of the main reasons why he had so many followers because he was an intelligent man. He had read many anti-slavery bulletins from Britain and communicated their messages to his followers. What Sharpe had envisaged, a century before Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, was a movement of passive resistance, a sit down strike of all the slaves in the western parishes. He hoped to force the plantation owners to pay them for their work, and thus affirm their freedom.  

In Jamaica, the strongest example of unrest as a result of the eagerness to put an end to slavery was the Christmas Rebellion of 1831. Also known as Sam Sharpe's Rebellion, it began when slaves in the western part of the island, led by Sharpe, believing they had been freed in England but kept enslaved by the planters in Jamaica, conducted a peaceful strike. About 1831 the British Parliament began discussions concerning the abolition of slavery. Many planters were against such a proposal and were determined to resist it. Sam Sharpe became aware of this and brought it to the attention of his congregation. Sharpe may be considered a forerunner to the labour movement as he fought for the rights of fellow workers. A plan of passive resistance was developed in order to force the hands of the planters. Sharpe and his congregation decided that after Christmas day, 1831, they would cease to work as slaves. Initially they intended for it to be peaceful, however rumors reached the planters and due course turned into a violent slave rebellion.

Troops were sent into St James in case of trouble, and warships were anchored in the harbour. On the last night of the holiday, December 27, the occupants of Kensington Great House fled to Montego Bay, and the St James militia marched on the estate to ensure slaves returned to work. Yet Sharpe's peaceful protest soon turned into the largest slave rebellion in the island's history. The slaves reacted to the militia's presence by setting fire to Kensington Estate, which was located on the highest hill in St James. By midnight, 16 other western estates were burning, and a rebellion was on the way, led by some of Sharpe's most trusted lieutenants.

Terrified planters and their families fled, leaving 50,000 slaves suddenly freed and uncertain what to do. Sharpe moved among the estates, counseling and praying, but matters were now beyond his control. Martial law was declared, and the untrained and uncoordinated rebel forces were soon overwhelmed by superior military force. Armed resistance was virtually at an end by the first week of January.

The civil authorities retaliated brutally. While fewer than 20 whites were killed in the revolt, nearly 600 slaves were executed in its aftermath. Perhaps influenced by the jailing of white missionaries like William Knibb and Thomas Burchell, Sam Sharpe gave himself up to the authorities and admitted responsibility, cleared the missionaries of any blame, and said destruction of life and property was not part of his plan. Even in jail he never lost his composure, praying and preaching to his fellow prisoners.

...

...

Download as:   txt (12 Kb)   pdf (699.8 Kb)   docx (303.3 Kb)  
Continue for 7 more pages »
Only available on ReviewEssays.com