Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

History

Advisor

Moore, Rachel A.

Committee Member

Burns , James M.

Committee Member

Morey , Maribel

Abstract

This thesis examines slavery in Jamaica between 1824 and 1831, primarily through the lens of rebellion and rebellious conspiracy. This study is largely based on legal documents, namely the criminal trials of slaves produced after the discovery of conspiracy plots to rebel in 1824 and the outbreak of a large-scale slave insurrection in 1831. While previous historians have provided rich analyses of the origins and causes of slave rebellions, this study attempts to disentangle the various representations and ideas of rebellion among slaves and slaveholders in Jamaica, and their larger implications for slavery in the British West Indies. I suggest that by examining rebellion-and instances of rebellious conspiracy-beyond the scope of slave agency or resistance, these trials furnish a complex portrait of slavery in Jamaica on the eve of emancipation throughout the British dominions. This study reveals the multiple groups that directly and indirectly lent their voices to the entangled yet conflicting representations of slave rebellion and resistance in Jamaica. Rebellion represented a rupture in the history of slavery, and while slaves resorted to physical resistance to remove themselves from that historical narrative, slaveholders in Jamaica desperately tried to rope them back into a conception of rebellion that would allow slavery in Jamaica to continue.

Included in

History Commons

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