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

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9780061995224: American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt

“Breathtaking. [Rasmussen’s] scholarly detective work reveals a fascinating narrative of slavery and resistance, but it also tells us something about history itself—about how fiction can become fact, and how ‘history’ is sometimes nothing more than erasure.” —Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

“Deeply researched, vividly written, and highly original.” —Eric Foner

Historian Daniel Rasmussen reveals the long-forgotten history of America’s largest slave uprising, the New Orleans slave revolt of 1811. In an epic, illuminating narrative, Rasmussen offers new insight into American expansionism, the path to Civil War, and the earliest grassroots push to overcome slavery.

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A gripping and deeply revealing history of an infamous slave rebellion that nearly toppled New Orleans and changed the course of American history

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.

About the Author:

Daniel Rasmussen graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University in 2009, winning the Kathryn Ann Huggins Prize, the Perry Miller Prize, and the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize.

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