"Cry Liberty": The Great Stono River Slave Rebellion of 1739

Paperback | October 19, 2011

byPeter Charles Hoffer

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The story of slavery in the colonial New World is, in part, one of rebellion. In Jamaica, Hispaniola, Dutch Surinam and elsewhere, massive uprisings threatened European rule. But not in British North America. Between the founding of Jamestown in 1607 and the start of the American Revolution in1775, the colonies experienced only one notable revolt, on South Carolina's Stono River in 1739, and it lasted a single day. Yet, writes Peter Charles Hoffer, as brief as this event was, historians have misunderstood it--and have thus overlooked its deeper significance.In Cry Liberty, Hoffer provides a deeply researched and finely nuanced narrative of the Stono River conflict, offering uncomfortable insights into American slavery. In particular, he draws on new sources to reexamine this one dramatic day. According to conventional wisdom, recently imported Africanslaves - warriors in spirit and training - learned of an impending war between England and Spain. Seeking freedom from Spanish authorities, the argument runs, they launched a well-planned uprising in order to escape to Florida. But Hoffer has mined legislative and legal records, land surveys, andfirst-hand accounts to identify precisely where the fighting began, trace the paths taken by rebels and militia, and offer a new explanation of its causes. Far from a noble, well-crafted revolt, he reveals, the slaves were simply breaking into a store to take what they thought was their due, andchance events put them on a path no participant had originally intended. The truth is a far less heroic, but far more of a human tragedy.Richly researched, crisply told, and unflinchingly honest, this book uncovers the grim truth about the violent wages of slavery and sheds light on why North America had so few slave rebellions.

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The story of slavery in the colonial New World is, in part, one of rebellion. In Jamaica, Hispaniola, Dutch Surinam and elsewhere, massive uprisings threatened European rule. But not in British North America. Between the founding of Jamestown in 1607 and the start of the American Revolution in1775, the colonies experienced only one not...

Peter Charles Hoffer is Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Georgia. He specializes in early U.S. history and legal history. He is the author of numerous books, including Past Imperfect; Seven Fires: The Urban Infernos that Reshaped American History; The Brave New World: A History of Early America; and The Supreme Co...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:October 19, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195386604

ISBN - 13:9780195386608

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Table of Contents

Introduction and AcknowledgmentsPrologue: The Land and the Water1. At Hutchenson's Store2. Inhuman Bondage3. Terror in the Night4. On the Pon Pon Road5. Never ForgetEpilogue: MeaningsExplanatory Essay-Reading the Sources on StonoNotesIndex