Analyzing the Scare

Lacy K. Ford, Jr.

in Deliver Us from Evil

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780195118094
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199870936 | DOI:
Analyzing the Scare

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This chapter examines the reaction of local whites to the Denmark Vesey insurrection plot. The reaction emerged from the information the Charleston public received at the time and the resulting widespread acceptance of the idea that the dangerous plot described in reports issued by Charleston's official investigators had, in fact, matured in Charleston that summer. Whites who defended an alternative version of the scare during the summer and fall of 1822 quickly lost credibility with the Lowcountry public. As Lowcountry whites contemplated the implications of a successful insurrection their midst, their leaders debated the appropriate means of making sure that no future plot could come to fruition. As part of this debate, whites of various persuasions offered both their diagnoses of the scare and proposals to prevent future plots. This public discussion over causes and preventative measures quickly revealed the sharp conflict that emerged between local authorities and the paternalist movement that escalated as the scare and the ensuing reaction unfolded.

Keywords: slavery; insurrection; Denmark Vesey; South; paternalist movement; Charleston

Chapter.  15754 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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