You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Slavery in the United States, c.1500-1865

11. Revolts

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module we think about why – given how many enslaved people there were in United States – there were so few actual slave rebellions. In particular, we focus on: (i) the practical barriers to arranging a rebellion – e.g. the language barrier between slaves; (ii) the demographic disadvantages – i.e. the fact that slaves in the United States were outnumbered by whites, who were well-organised and equipped; (iii) the high chance of failure, and the brutal punishments that awaited the perpetrators of violent rebellion; and (iv) the lack of enthusiasm among some slaves for committing acts of violence – especially if such acts were directed against people they actually knew.


In this course, Professor Tim Lockley (University of Warwick) explores the history of slavery in the United States. We begin in the first module with an exploration of the earliest history of slavery in Africa and the development of the transatlantic slave trade. After that, we turn to the domestic slave trade – i.e. the buying and selling of slaves within the United States – before turning in the third module to the question of the kind of work that enslaved individuals did. In the fourth module, we think about the kind of relationship that enslaved people had with their owners, while in the fifth we think about what enslaved people did in their free time. In the sixth module, we think about enslaved people’s family life, in the seventh their health, and in the eighth their religious life – focusing in particular on why so many enslaved people converted to Christianity. In the ninth module, we think about slave culture – how enslaved people spoke, what they ate, the kinds of stories they told and songs they sang – before turning in the tenth module to consider the ways in which enslaved people resisted slavery. In the eleventh module, we think about why there were so few slave rebellions in the United States, while in the twelfth and final module, we think about how attitudes towards race factored into the workings of slavery in the United States.


Tim Lockley is Professor of American History at the University of Warwick. where his teaching and research interests include colonial and antebellum North America, with a particular focus on slavery and the South. He has written and edited a number of books, including 2009’s Welfare and Charity and the Antebellum South. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Lockley, T. (2019, October 17). Slavery in the United States, c.1500-1865 - Revolts [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Lockley, T. "Slavery in the United States, c.1500-1865 – Revolts." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 17 Oct 2019,