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Teaching American History Race, Slavery & Citizenship January 10, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Teaching American History Race, Slavery & Citizenship January 10, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Teaching American History Race, Slavery & Citizenship January 10, 2011

2 Standards 11.1 Students analyze the significant events in the founding of the nation and its attempts to realize the philosophy of government described in the Declaration of Independence. –11.1.3 Understand the history of the Constitution after 1787 with emphasis on federal versus state authority and growing democratization 8.7.2 Trace the origins and development of slavery; its effects on black Americans and on the region's political, social, religious, economic, and cultural development; and identify the strategies that were tried to both overturn and preserve it (e.g., through the writings and historical documents on Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey).

3 Does American citizenship extend to African Americans in the early nation? How does slavery emerge in the New World? What came first racism or racialized slavery? How does slavery persist and flourish in a republic premised on principles of natural rights?

4 Anthony Johnson The deposition of Capt. Samll. Goldsmyth taken in open court 8th of March [16]54 sayeth that being att ye house of Anth. Johnson Negro about ye beginning of November last to receive a Hogsd of tobac, a negro called Jno. Casor came to this depo[nen]t & told him yt hee came into Virginia for seaven or eight years of Indenture; yt hee had demanded his freedome of Antho. Johnson his mayster & further sd yt hee had kept him his serv[ant] seaven years longer than hee should or ought; and desired that this Depont would see yt hee might have noe wronge; whereupon your depont demanded of Anth. Johnson his Indenture. the sd Johnson answered hee never saw any. The negro Jno. Casor replyed when hee came in he had an Indenture. Anth. Johnson sd hee had ye Negro for his life, but Mr. Robert & George Parker sd they knewe that ye sd Negro had an Indenture in one Mr. S[andys?] hand on ye other side of ye Baye. Further sd Mr. Robert Parker & his Brother George sd (if the sd. Anth. Johnson did not let ye negro go free) the said negro Jno Casor would recover most of his Cows from him ye sd Johnson. Then Anth. Johnson (as this dept. did suppose) was in a great feare.... Anth. Johnsons sonne in Law, his wife & his own two sonnes persuaded the old negro Anth. Johnson to sett the sd. Jno. Casor free... more sth not. March 8, 1654

5 Anthony Johnson By virtue of a writt granted to me from [names listed here, which are illegible] John Stringer Escheator for the countys of Northhampton and Accomack to enquire what lands Anthonio Johnson late of Accomack County either in his life tyme... a jury of free... in the said Accomack County to enquire... doth declare that the said Anthony Johnson lately deceased in his life tyme was seized of fifty acres of land now in the possession of Rich. Johnson in the County of Accomack aforesaid and further that the said Anthony Johnson was a negro and by consequence an alien and for that cause the said land doth escheat to this.... --August 1670

6 History of Slavery Slavery in history: Egyptians, Greeks, Vikings, Christianity & Islam Beginnings of Transatlantic Slave Trade: –Portuguese & Spanish –Trade across Sahara –15th Century: sea trade to Iberian peninsula –Gold & Sugar –Pre-existing slave trade


8 The Triangle Trade

9 The Middle Passage 9-11 Million 5m South America 4m West Indies 400K North America 1/3 die en route

10 Middle Passage


12 Indentured Servitude “Grinding at the mills, and attending the furnaces, or digging in this scorching island; having nothing to feed on…besides the bread and tears of their own afflictions; being bought and sold still from one planter to another, or attached as horses and beasts for the debts of their masters, being whipt at the whipping posts (as rogues) for their masters’ pleasure and sleeping in sties worse than hogs in England.” Observers“found the indentures to be ‘sold for slaves at public sale’ and “subject nearly to the same laws as the Negroes [with] the same coarse food and clothing.’ Richard Freethorne’s Letter

13 How does racialized slavery? When does black=slave? Ideol ogical reasons (racism) vs. Economic reasons –Winthrop Jordan –Edmund Morgan

14 The earliest English descriptions of West Africa were written by adventurous traders, men who had no special interest in converting the natives or, except for the famous Hawkins voyages, in otherwise laying hands on them. …Englishmen found the natives of Africa very different from themselves. Negroes looked different; their religion was un-Christian; their manner of living was anything but English; they seemed to be a particularly libidinous sort of people. All these clusters of perceptions were related to each other, though they may he spread apart for inspection, and they were related also to circumstances of contact in Africa, to previously accumulated traditions concerning that strange and distant continent, and to certain special qualities of English society on the eve of its expansion into the New World.The most arresting characteristic of the newly discovered African was his color. Travelers rarely failed to comment upon it; indeed when describing Negroes they frequently began with complexion and then moved on to dress (or rather lack of it) and manners. At Cape Verde, "These people are all blacke, and are called Negros, without any apparell, saving before their privities.”… Englishmen actually described Negroes as black-an exaggerated term which in itself suggests that the Negro's complexion had powerful impact upon their perceptions. In England perhaps more than in southern Europe, the concept of blackness was loaded with intense meaning. Long before they found that some men were black, Englishmen found in the idea of blackness a way of expressing some of their most ingrained values. No other color except white conveyed so much emotional impact. As described by the Oxford English Dictionary, the meaning of black before the sixteenth century included, "Deeply stained with dirt; soiled, dirty, foul.... Having dark or deadly purposes, malignant; pertaining to or involving death, deadly; baneful, disastrous, sinister.... Foul, iniquitous, atrocious, horrible, wicked.... Indicating disgrace, censure, liability to punishment, etc." Black was an emotionally partisan color, the handmaid and symbol of baseness and evil, a sign of danger and repulsion. By Winthrop Jordan From: White Over Black (1968)

15 Ideological reasons: –Black as evil “ the handmaid and symbol of baseness and evil, a sign of danger and repulsion. ” –Africa un-Christian –Sons of Ham -Robert Baker’s Poem meeting with representatives in Guinea, 1562: And entering in we see A number of blacke soules Whose likenliness seem’d me to be, But all as blacke as cloes. Their Captaine comes to me as naked as my naile, Not having witte or honestie To cover once his taile. By which I doe here gesse And gather by the way, That he from man and manlinesse Was voide and cleane astray.

16 Economic Explanation Bacon’s Rebellion –Completion of tenure and denial of “freedom dues” –Increasing need for labor (tobacco) –Restless and dangerous lower class whites rebel – Turn towards slavery: permanent identifiable labor group –Enslaved status of blacks enhances meaning of whiteness

17 A free society divided between large landholders and small was much less riven by antagonisms than one divided between landholders and landless, masterless men. With the freedman’s expectations, sobriety, and status restored, he was no longer a man to be feared. That fact, together with the presence of a growing mass of alien slaves, tended to draw the white settlers closer together and to reduce the importance of class difference between yeoman farmer and large plantation owner …The rise of liberty and equality in this country was accompanied by the rise of slavery. That two such contradictory developments were taking place simultaneously over a long period of our history, from the seventeenth to the nineteenth, is the central paradox of American history. Edmund Morgan, Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox

18 Virginia, 1639 Act X. All persons except Negroes are to be provided with arms and ammunitions or be fined at the pleasure of the governor and council. Maryland, 1664 That whatsoever free-born [English] woman shall intermarry with any slave... shall serve the master of such slave during the life of her husband; and that all the issue of such free-born women, so married shall be slaves as their fathers were. Virginia, 1667 Act III. Whereas some doubts have arisen whether children that are slaves by birth... should by virtue of their baptism be made free, it is enacted that baptism does not alter the condition to the person as to his bondage or freedom; masters freed from this doubt may more carefully propagate Christianity by permitting slaves to be admitted to that sacrament. Virginia, 1682 Act I. It is enacted that all servants... which [sic] shall be imported into this country either by sea or by land, whether Negroes, Moors [Muslim North Africans], mulattoes or Indians who and whose parentage and native countries are not Christian at the time of their first purchase by some Christian... and all Indians, which shall be sold by our neighborign Indians, or any other trafficing with us for slaves, are hereby adjudged, deemed and taken to be slaves to all intents and purposes any law, usage, or custom to the contrary notwithstanding.

19 Race: Social Construction Groupings according to physical characteristics –No cluster of genes specific to races –More diversity within than between 19 th century conception an ideology that justifies superiority and exclusions.

20 Historical and regionally specific Revolution—1/4 1/16 th then 1/8 th Some states 1/24 th “one drop” rule Mexicans “mongrol” then “white” “Race doesn’t travel.”

21 Rhetoric of the Revolution “There are but two sorts of men in the world, freemen and slaves…the very definition of a freeman is one who is bound by no law to which he has not consented” and that the capitulation to Parliament could make Americans “not only…slaves. But the most abject sort of salves to the worst sort of masters.” John Adams “They who are taxed at pleasure by others cannot possibly have any property…they who have no property, can have no freedom, but are indeed reduced to the most abject slavery.” Stephan Hopkins 1764 “Those who are taxed without consent are slaves.” John Dickenson of Pennsylvania “We won’t be there [Britain’s] negroes. Providence never designed us for negroes. I know, for it and it would have given us black hides and think lips…which it han’t done, and therefore never intended for slaves.” John Adams

22 Voices of Dissent Benjamin Rush, James Otis, Thomas Paine Asked how Americans could “complain so loudly at attempts to enslave them while they hold so many hundreds of thousands in slavery and annually enslave many thousands more.” “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty from the drivers of negroes”? Samuel Johnson

23 Contradictions in Revolutionary Rhetoric George Mason Thomas Jefferson John Locke “Fully encased in white identity” Slavery made republican freedom possible by establishing economic independence Racial Reasoning

24 Notes on the State of Virginia

25 Founding Documents Constitution –“Slavery” absent –End of slave trade –Necessary compromise/ necessary evil –Dying out? Naturalization Act of 1790 –Restricts citizenship to “free white persons” –Civic vs. Ethnic nationalism

26 Although I have never sought popularity by animated Speeches or inflammatory publications against Slavery of the Blacks, my opinion against it has always been known...and never in my life did I own a Slave. The Abolition of Slavery must be gradual and accomplished with much caution and Circumspection. Violent means and measures would produce greater violations of Justice and Humanity than the continuance of the practice. Neither...[of you], I presume, would be willing to venture on exertions which would probably excite Insurrection among the Blacks to rise against their Masters.... There are many other evils in our Country which are growing, (Whereas the practice of slavery is fast diminishing) and threaten to bring punishment on our Land, more immediately than the oppression of the blacks. That Sacred regard to Truth in which you and I were educated, and which is certainly taught and enjoyed from on high seems to be vanishing from among us. John Adams, 1801

27 Consequences of American Revolution for Slaves Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation 5,000 fight with Washington 50,000 gain freedom

28 The “contagion of liberty” spreads 1770s: Freedom Petitions in North Address “Natural rights to our freedom” “We expect great things from men who have made such a noble stand against the designs of their fellow-men to enslave them.” Wrote four Boston slaves. “How could America seek release from English tyranny and not seek the same for disadvantaged Africans in her midst?” Stopped paying taxes 1770s-80s fugitive slaves increase (some estimates at 50% fled) Southern slaveholders (VA & MD) manumit slaves –1784 Virginia Methodist condemned slavery as “contrary to the Golden Law of God on which hang all the Laws and Prophets, and the unalienable Rights of Mankind, as well as every principle of the Revolution.”

29 “Freedom” in North 1777-1804 Northern States Emancipate slaves “Post Nati Emancipation” Do not free slaves in bondage, but children Many labor until 26-28, then freed Restricted liberties –“Warning Out Laws” –Banned from voting, militia, juries Joanne Pope Melish: Northern claims to moral superiority historically inaccurate Racial distinctions grow in importance as slavery ends

30 Bobalition



33 1800 Expansion of Slavery “…people live in cotton houses and ride in cotton carriages. They buy cotton, sell cotton, think cotton, eat cotton, drink cotton, and dream cotton. They marry cotton wives and unto them are born cotton children…” British visitor Hiram Fuller’s views of Mobile, AL in 1858

34 Are we a “post-racial” nation?

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