During the time of slavery, many slaves did not oppose the peculiar institution. They never talked badly about being a slave, or ever being mistreated. This may have been because the slaves were afraid of what their masters would have done to them if they spoke out about how they really felt. Slaveholders would often ask their slaves if they were content with how they were treated or if they even wanted to be free. In the end, slaves would not say anything that would potentially "embarrass" their master in fear of punishments. In addition, slaves may not have spoken against their masters in fear that they would actually set them free. Since slaves were not taught everyday life skills, they depended entirely on their masters for food, shelter, and clothing -- basic needs. If slaves were emancipated, they would be wandering the streets with no idea what to do because they were never taught how to take care of themselves. Only the most "prestigious" slaves knew everyday life skills because they would work inside the house. Therefore allowing them to be acquainted with how their masters did everyday things. Yet, despite these restrictions, many still had dreams of leaving behind their life of servitude and living a free life. While some described what it was like to be free, a majority had a vague yearning for escape because of burdens or restraints. If slaves yielded to authority, it was mainly because they saw no other choice. Slave resistance created a serious problem of discipline for all slaveholders. However, many slaves found countless ways to frustrate their masters and saw that bondage had its limitations and its advantages.

Slaves in the South outnumbered the white population manifold, leading slave owners as well as poor whites to fear large-scale slave uprisings. The sheer number of blacks could overwhelm their suppressors, even with the lack of access to proper weaponry.
Nat Turner’s Rebellion resulted in the deaths of about fifty-five white men, women, and children, but the fear the revolt instilled in the minds of the much more powerful whites manifested itself in a need to fight back - around two-hundred slaves were attacked and murdered in retaliation.
One of the primary reasons so many in the southern United States were opposed to the freeing of the underprivileged and mistreated blacks on plantations had nothing to do with the economic benefit. The vast majority of whites in the area could not afford a single slave and toiled in their own fields with no help from ‘purchased’ manpower. The ratio of blacks to whites in the South made the idea of freeing every slave a terrible one, even to those who had no use for them in the first place; after years of being held inferior to those of European descent, it would make sense for the African slaves to seek retribution in the blood of their former masters. Thus, terror was a major factor in keeping the slaves held under in American society. Lashes out against the abuse of slaves in rebellions such as Nat Turner’s only led to more drastic means of controlling them, and brought no advancement to the black people in the South, and brought some wariness to abolitionists in the North as well. Progress would have to be made in ways other than senseless violence by the slaves.