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Slaves, Loyalists, and Native Americans in the American Revolution

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1 Slaves, Loyalists, and Native Americans in the American Revolution

2 During the seventeenth and increasingly in the eighteenth century, British colonists in America charged Great Britain with violating the ideals of rule of law, self government, and, ultimately, equality of rights. Yet the colonists themselves violated these ideals in their treatment of blacks, Native Americans, and even poorer classes of white settlers. Assess the validity of this view. Analyze the extent to which the American Revolution represented a radical alteration in American political ideas and institutions. Confine your answer to the period 1775 to 1800.

3 I. The Rhetoric and Reality of the Revolution: Slavery
A. John Locke and Slavery Rev. against slavery, tyranny, oppression, for liberty Enslavement of whites to Parliament Property rights are the foundation of all other rights A slave “has no political rights because he has no property ” Taxation w/out representation threatens rights of property: if they can take a little, they can take it all Inherent conflict liberty and property

4 B. Freedom with the “Enslavers”
7 Nov. 1775: VA Royal Gov. Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation: freedom to slaves of rebel masters who join British army Attempt to keep whites Loyal in fact alienates many: fear that if British win, they would free all the slaves Disrupt economy Approx. 800 slaves join Ethiopian Regiment Estimated that 10,000 blacks fought for the crown (esp. South, but some in North)

5 C. Enslaved by the Free Samuel Johnson: “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?” Abigail Adams: “it always appeared a most iniquitous scheme to me to fight ourselves for what we are daily robbing and plundering from those who have as good a right to freedom as we have.”

6 Some Revolutionaries freed their slaves in response to rhetoric
All the northern states began to emancipate their slaves by 1785 in reaction to Revolution South Carolina and others: if emancipation part of Revolution side with the King Deep South least enthusiastic Revolutionaries To keep Revolution together, Continental Congress side steps issue

7 D. You Say You Want a Revolution: Blacks in the Continental Army
Fear of slave insurrection Continental Congress restricts blacks from Continental Army Limited # whites join in South protect homes Southern whites refused to fight alongside blacks General Philip Schuyler: “Is it consistent with the Sons of Freedom to trust their all to be defended by slaves?”

8 Failures of Continental Congress: Army constantly undermanned
Could only request troops “I won’t till they do”  Bounties: land, money, slaves Opposition to blacks serving fell approx. 5,000 served

9 1) Pass as free gain freedom 2) Substitution
Economic hardships of going to war National Guard in Iraq 3) Masters’ land + money bounties 4) Free blacks’ bounties economics and acceptance Largely failed Blacks were joining while white enlistment fell: more patriotic?

10 E. The Revolution and International Slavery
All States and Continental Association took action against slave trade Hurt British merchants Revolution and rhetoric brought anti-slavery fragments together into a movement raises issues of slavery and race largely ignored before 1775 Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society Revolution French Rev. and 1804 Haitian Revolution; 1834 British abolition of slavery in empire

11 A. Lukewarm Counter-Revolutionaries
II. Loyalists / Tories A. Lukewarm Counter-Revolutionaries Not a coherent group: 1) no inter-colonial organization, 2) lacked imagination: thought B wrong, Am going too far Esp. concerned mobs and popularization politics (unworthy)

12 B. Who Were They? 60,000-100,000 émigrés (Canada, Britain)
But not all fled impossible estimate 24/1,000 émigrés (French Rev 5/1,000) Confiscation of property v. high 30,000-50,000 served in B armies Concentrations: NY, Penna., NJ, Carolinas, Georgia Very few NE + VA

13 All strata society, esp. those cut off from dominant group
1) royal or proprietary officials 2) Anglican officials and laymen (except VA, esp. NE) 3) Overseas merchants (but also many Patriot) 4) Farmers (largest # in colonies) A) tenant farmers (NY: Loyal, VA: Patriot) B) sellers to B army

14 Ethnic/Religious Germans in PA remain quiet
Highland Scots in Carolinas Dutch Anglicans in NE Backcountry Carolinas: exploited by coastal elite BUT: Scotch-Irish in PA ardent Patriots: despise the English

15 C. “Most Wanton and Unnatural Rebellion”
Loyalists lost most of property left behind: confiscation bills Issue in 1783 Treaty of Paris No purge (unless convicted of treason) Counter-argument: If British were planning to enslave colonists, why was Canada just as free (if not more so) than US?

16 III. A Rock and a Hard Place: Indians in the Revolution
Revolution disaster for Indians sided w/ British overrun by Americans But Rev. irrelevant: would have been anyway (even those who sided w/ Am pushed out and killed)

17 A. Choosing Sides 200,000 Indians east of Miss. during AR most want to remain neutral British had repaired relations w/Indians (Superintendents for Indian Affairs) tend side w/B 2nd Cont. Congress, 1775: “a family quarrel between us and Old England” I should remain neutral most did

18 B. Indians in the War Some (Shawnee and Cherokee) take advantage attack frontier settlements Lose forced to cede lands Reference in Dec. of Ind.: “merciless savages” Stockbridge (NE) and Oneidas (NY) side w/Am

19 Mary and Joseph Brant (widow of Indian superintendent + brother)
Try convince Iroquois join B: Senecas, Cayugas, Mohawks join B in 1777 Oneidas (converted during Great Awakening) and Tuscaroras join A Others split Disunity disaster + Am destroy homelands: Iroquois forced to move West look for food, resettle in Canada

20 C. Treaty of Paris B abandons I allies in Peace lands West to Miss. ceded to Americans Initially Americans seek to exterminate Indians Policy changed under Washington administration

21 IV. Conclusion Despite the limitations of applying “all men are created equal” during Revolution itself, the language of the Revolution was eventually opened up to include minorities and as rallying cry for Civil Rights Movements. And Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam after WWII Canadians (after War of 1812) become ardent (if concerned) American allies.

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