To See Oneself as a Target of a Justified Revolution: Thomas Jefferson and Gabriel's Uprising

American Nineteenth Century History, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2003

31 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2007 Last revised: 3 Aug 2013

William G. Merkel

Charleston School of Law

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

Examines Jefferson's response to Gabriel's Uprising and argues that Jefferson employed the language of criminal theory in urging Virginia Governor James Monroe to spare the lives of convicted conspirators for the sake of justice and the state's image before the enlightened world. Jefferson's analysis of the slave rebels' acts and intentions makes clear that - at least in abstract, philosophical terms - Jefferson saw the slave uprising as justified, while he viewed white Virginia's resort to deadly force to counter the revolt as at best excusable.

Keywords: Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Haitian Revolution, Gabriel, Virginia, criminal theory, justification, St. George Tucker, legal education, slave rebellion, Election of 1800, militia, Richmond, James Sidbury, Douglas Egerton

Suggested Citation

Merkel, William G., To See Oneself as a Target of a Justified Revolution: Thomas Jefferson and Gabriel's Uprising (2003). American Nineteenth Century History, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=959676

William G. Merkel (Contact Author)

Charleston School of Law ( email )

Charleston, SC 29402
United States

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