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African Americans in the American Revolution HIS 265.

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Presentation on theme: "African Americans in the American Revolution HIS 265."— Presentation transcript:

1 African Americans in the American Revolution HIS 265

2 Slavery & the Revolution  Egalitarian rhetoric of republicanism clearly at odds with slavery  Over 18,000 slaves (5% of the black population) escaped to British lines or ran away during the war  Both sides used slaves as soldiers Lord Dunmore (1775) & Gen. Henry Clinton (1779) offered freedom to slaves who enlisted in British army Several states allowed slaves to serve in place of masters New York offered freedom to slaves who served 3 years in army (& compensated owners)

3 Black Units in the Continental Army  R.I. legislature passed bill in 1778 authorizing recruitment of blacks Offered freedom & regular pay Owners compensated based on value 1 st Rhode Island saw action at Battle of Rhode Island (Aug. 1778) & Yorktown (Oct. 1781)  Mass. organized Bucks of America under Samuel Middleton  2 nd Company 4 th Conn. Regiment formed in Oct  Most blacks served in integrated units Col.Christopher Greene

4 Washington Crossing the Delaware

5 Emancipation in the North  Northern states began to phase out slavery – ¾ free by 1810; all by 1840  Penn. (1780), N.Y. (1799), Conn. & N.J. (1804) provided for gradual abolition – almost all free by 1840  Mass. Supreme Court ruled slavery violated state constitution in 1781  Slavery barred from Northwest Territory (1787)

6 Emancipation in New York  New York Manumission Society founded in 1785 by Hamilton, Jay & Burr Est. African Free School in 1787 Lobbied newspapers not to run slave ads Offered free legal counsel to blacks suing for freedom  1785 attempt to abolish slavery failed due to controversy over voting rights issue  1799 law provided for gradual abolition Children born after July 4, 1799 would be free at 25 for women, 28 for men Slaves already born remained “servants” for life  1817 law promised freedom to all slaves born before 1799 on July 4, 1827  Some owners sold slaves south before law took effect

7 Abolition in Massachusetts  Mass. State Constitution (1780) declared “all men are born free & equal” with “the right of enjoying and defending their lives & liberties”  Courts ruled in Mum Bett (1781) & Quock Walker ( ) cases that slavery was therefore abolished Mum Bett

8 Manumission in the South  Wave of manumission followed Revolution  Over 10% of blacks in Upper South free by 1810  George Washington freed slaves in his will, but only after death of wife George Washington & William Lee

9 Compromises on Slavery in the Constitution AArt. 1, Sec. 2: 3/5 of slaves counted toward representation & taxation AArt. 1, Sec. 9: Congress couldn’t ban slave trade for 20 years AArt. 4, Sec. 2: Fugitive Slave Clause required capture & return of escaped slaves NNorthwest Ordinance (1787) banned slavery in Northwest Territory, but allowed it in Southwest Territory


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