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Analyzing Perspective in Colonial Fugitive Documents

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1 Analyzing Perspective in Colonial Fugitive Documents
Anthony J. Fitzpatrick: Vice President of Professional Development Services The American Institute for History Education

2 Quick Question: When and where would you expect to see or read advertisements concerning runaway slaves and servants? Why (considering how we “teach” American history) would you answer in such a way?

3 In Pre-Civil War times . . . How would you describe the following regions of the United States of America? The New England region The Middle-Atlantic Region The South

4 Can we validate these impressions?
OF COURSE!! It’s not absolute but here are some facts that may help us out: The New England colonies: Few Servants and Slaves but Many newspapers Middle Colonies: Many Servants and Slaves and Many Newspapers Lower South: Many Servants and Slaves but Fewer Newspapers How would the following factors contribute to the facts above: 1. Amount of urban centers and seaports 2. amount of slaves

5 Basic Background: (the rest we’ll find out later ;-)
Runaway advertisements were found in newspapers. The newspapers were typically published weekly. The advertisements were, more often than not, found in the same section as advertisements for lost goods, foreclosure notices, debt collections and real estate transactions.

6 Revisiting a Familiar Strategy
A – Author R – Reason To Whom I – Immediate Effects S – Subsequent Effects T – Time Period

7 Let’s Examine 2 together:
Consider the following points as you read: Number of Runaways Runaways’ Name (s) Slave or Servant Ethnicity Gender Age Physical Features, Personality Traits, Occupational Skills, or Other Significant Information Any other interesting notes or information you could glean from the source

8 Source 1 (also in your packet)
Boston Evening-Post, August 1, 1748 RAN away from his Master, john Allen, Merchant of Newtown, a Negro Man named Quomino, about 21 Years of Age, a likely Fellow, of middling Stature, his Head shav’d half over, and speaks good English. Carried away with him, an Olive coloured Cloth Coat with Buttons of the same Colour, a new Jacket and Breeches, dark Cloth Colour, homespun, with pewter Buttons on, two pair of Trousers, two Tow Shirts, two Linnen Shirts, an old Bever Hat, and large Brass Buckles in his Shoes, &c. He also carried with him a Scythe. Whoever shall take him up and return him to his said Master, shall receive of him the Sum of Five Pounds, and all necessary Charges, in Old Tenor Money, and all Masters of vessels are upon their Peril forbid concealing or carrying off said Servant. NEWTON, JULY 16, 1748.

9 Source 2 (also in your packet)
Boston Evening-Post, may 19, 1755 RAN away from his Master William Bucknam, a Negro Man named Cuff, about 45 Years old, and pretty tall and slender, has Scars on each Side of his Face, Negro Fashion, and had on a streaked blue and white woolen shirt, an under Jacket and Breeches, homespun woolen cloth, streaked black and white about an Inch wide, mill’d Cloth, outside Jacket, homespun Kersey grey colour’d and grey yarn-Stockings, worsted cap, felt hat, and is suspected to have forged a pass of freedom for his protection with him. Any person that shall take up said Negro, and commit him to Gaol (Jail), and secure the Papers, if any, and send me Tidings of the same, or to Messieurs Samuel Hewes and Son, merchants of Boston, shall have FIVE Dollars reward, and all necessary Charges paid. This likewise is to forbid all Masters of Vessels from carrying said negro away. FALLMOUTH, APRIL 22, WILLIAM BUCKNAM

10 Now we will “break” into groups
At your tables, you’ll be assigned 1-2 of the documents in the packet. After we’re done analyzing, we will come together to fill in the chart as a group with each table providing the “expert” analysis for their sources.

11 Now let’s examine some deeper questions:
Each table will have 1-2 questions to answer: Examine the detail given to the physical appearance and dress of the runaways. Describe the “typical” depiction of slaves and servants. What were the typical clues (spoken or otherwise) that indicated a person’s status of slave, servant, or free? What evidence is presented of the techniques and methods runaways used to make their way to freedom? What skills or attributes were helpful in doing so? Look closely at sources 4,12, and 13; who was most likely to help a runaway to freedom and why? What types of racial and ethnic diversity presents itself in the advertisements? How does the indication of a place of origin contribute to how you view their motive and method for running away? Are there significant differences in how the advertisements are constructed from one region to another? Create a 3-circle Venn Diagram that highlights the regional variations in slavery and servitude in colonial America. Where in the advertisements do you see evidence of different methods used to re-capture runaway slaves? Do they differ from the methods utilized to apprehend servants? How? This is a great opportunity to create a T-Chart or a Venn Diagram. Using the evidence in the advertisements, compare the institutions of slavery and servitude in colonial America. Construct a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting the worlds of slaves and servants.

12 More content and context:
We can look in many different areas for context: Why did owners wait a significant period of time before placing an advertisement? SPEC? Politically In the power relationship between slave/ servant and master, a form of protest was often to run away for a few days. Since placing an ad in the paper was an additional cost (economic), an owner needed to wait until it was certain a runaway had occurred.

13 What happens after the Revolution?
Let’s link this to our prior knowledge! After the American Revolution we begin to see the end of indentured servants as many saw this as incompatible to democratic values I know I know – We could be perplexed by this for DAYS and DAYS Also – as the northern states began to industrialize at a more rapid pace than the south, wage labor gradually changed the system of journeyman and apprentice (who used to receive room, board and clothing instead of wages). An aside – the change in this system led to MORE social and geographic segregation between employer and employee, thereby changing the relationship We could look further into the rise of unions and as a NEXT BIG STEP.

14 BUT: The system of slavery also changed:
As slavery and indentured servitude receded in the north, technological innovations and westward expansion assisted in making slave labor the cornerstone of the Southern economy. This is going to lead to the beginning of an uneasy relationship between the Northern and Southern states over the issue of states rights . . . (And I’m not talking about the right to secede or the South’s wish to nullify Federal law) . . .

15 The North’s Argument for States Rights . . .
Northern states (inspired by Abolitionists) attempted to refuse to enforce Fugitive slave laws: Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution Prohibits states from passing laws that would confer freedom upon runaways from other states And the 1850 Federal Fugitive Slave Law (Lesson learned, States Rights is not only associated with the South)

16 Considerations: How might we adapt this “type” of assignment?
What modifications could we make if students have no prior knowledge? Prior knowledge is an interesting thing indeed. In creating this presentation I had to understand that you as the “learner” had some prior knowledge but your students probably wouldn’t have any (depending on grade level etc etc)

17 Questions:

18 Thank You!

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