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The Non-Resistant

The Non-resistant

 
Between 1839 and 1845, the New England Non-Resistance Society published The Non-Resistant, an abolitionist newspaper. During its short run, the newspaper referenced Nat Turner several times often comparing him to Washington and other heroes of the American Revolution. H.C. Wright, who also contributed frequently to The Liberator, had several letters printed in the paper in which he argued that Turner and slaves like him should be regarded as abolitionist heroes and military leaders. Turner did not start the rebellion simply for the sake of killing but in order to gain freedom for himself and his fellow slaves. Wright asks “When Nat Turner and his compeers seized and brandished the torch, the sabre and axe, was it not to free themselves from bonds, contrary to the wishes of their masters, as our fathers did?”[1] Furthermore, those who support slavery
...deify Washington, and curse and abhor Nat Turner—a man who fought and died for an object with which nothing for which Washington ever drew the sword is worthy to be named. While both Turner and Washington violated the spirit and principle of Christianity—those who laud the one and revile the other are guilty of base hypocrisy. They not only resist and shoot down the slave when he fights for liberty, but when he attempts to gain it by running away.[2]

Another contributor to the paper, “E.Q.” also labels Turner as a patriot and suggests that in the future, he would be remembered not as a villain but as a hero.

A History will yet be written in which Wat Tyler, and Jack Cade, and Nat Turner will be placed in the same category with Tell, and Hampden, and Washington. Their purposes were the same—the deliverance of the oppressed from tyranny.” [3]

E.Q. argues that, like white American heroes, Turner should be praised for standing up to the injustices that kept him enslaved. There would come a time when Turner would be remembered not for the violence he incited, but for his courage in the face of oppression.

The Non-Resistant. From the collections of the American Antiquarian Society.


[1] Wright, H.C. Non-Resistant. January 21, 1841.
[2] Wright, H.C. Non-Resistant. August 12, 1842.
[3] Non-Resistant. June 23, 1841.