“Narrative of the Events Comprising the Vesey Rebellion,” 10 August 1822 


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Document Description:

In May of 1822, a plot for a slave insurrection planned for July, was uncovered in Charleston.  Denmark Vesey, a free black man who purchased his freedom in 1800, was the alleged leader of the insurrection, which was planned to take the city of Charleston.  After a lengthy trial, Vesey and over thirty others were condemned to death and hanged.  After the insurrection scare, laws were passed to restrict the movement of slaves and free blacks in South Carolina. 

This document is an official summary of the insurrection and trial, and it is part of the Governor’s Messages to the General Assembly.  The summary strives to convince the reader that the insurrection was not large or extensive, and that whites were no longer in danger. The summary concludes with the following: "If the citizens will faithfully perform the duty enjoined on them by the Patrol Laws, I fear not that we shall continue in the enjoyment of as much tranquillity [sic] and safety, as any State in the Union."


Executive Department.  “Narrative of the Events Comprising the Vesey Rebellion,” 10 August 1822.  General Assembly. Governors' messages.  S 165009.  South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 3-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the events that led to the Civil War, the course of the War and Reconstruction, and South Carolina’s role in these events.

Indicator 3-4.2 Summarize the institution of slavery prior to the Civil War, including reference to conditions in South Carolina, the invention of the cotton gin, subsequent expansion of slavery, and economic dependence on slavery. (H, E, P)

Standard 8-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the American Civil War—its causes and effects and the major events that occurred during that time.

Indicator 8-3.3 Draw conclusions about how sectionalism arose from events or circumstances of racial tension, internal population shifts, and political conflicts, including the Denmark Vesey plot, slave codes, and the African American population majority. (H, P, E)

Standard USHC-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the causes and the course of the Civil War and Reconstruction in America.

Indicator USHC-4.1 Compare the social and cultural characteristics of the North, the South, and the West during the antebellum period, including the lives of African Americans and social reform movements such as abolition and women’s rights. (H, P, G)


Additional Flash Versions:

Vesey Summary 1 Vesey Summary 2 Vesey Summary 3


Related Documents:

Court Proceedings and Testimony regarding the Denmark Vesey Rebellion Trial, 1822


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