The American Revolution

The American Revolution would profoundly alter African American life and the role of African Americans in the society of the new American republic. Many slaves were freed to fight in the war. Of these, the vast majority fought for the British and were largely removed to Canada after Britain’s defeat in 1781. Those freed because of their service in the patriot army were soon joined by thousands of others freed by emancipation laws in the North or by acts of manumission in the South, many by planters influenced by the egalitarian rhetoric of the revolution. As the free black community grew, it began to develop institutions of its own, most notably churches, particularly in urban areas where a critical demographic mass developed. These institutions, along with continuing white racism, led to the development of a distinct African American culture, again, separate from European American culture, but heavily influenced by it. Developments in the history of the early republic, however, also condemned future generations to the rigors of plantation slavery. The invention of the cotton gin led to the vast expansion of the slave empire, throughout the existing South and into new territories farther west. Ultimately, it would take a second and even third revolution, the Civil War of the nineteenth century and the Civil Rights movement of the twentieth, to win blacks an equal share in the society partially founded on their labor centuries earlier. Matthew Jennings See also: Agriculture; Cotton; Equiano, Olaudah; Free Blacks; Indentured Servitude; Laborers, Rural; Laborers, Urban; Native American-African American Relations; Native Americans and Slavery; Race and Ethnicity (Chronology); Race and Ethnicity (Essay); Religions, African; Rice; Royal African Company; Slave Communities and Culture; Slave Rebellions; Slave Trade; Slavery, African American; Slavery, Caribbean; Sugar; Wheatley, Phillis; Documents: Virginia Slave Laws (1660s); The Demand for Slavery in Georgia (1743); On Being Brought from Africa to America (early 1770s); Slave Petition to the Governor, Council, and House of Representatives of the Province of Massachusetts (1774). Bibliography Berlin, Ira. Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of American Slavery. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1998. Franklin, John Hope, and Alfred A. Moss. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans. 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994. Gomez, Michael A. Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998. Morgan, Philip D. Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998. Thornton, John. Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400 1800. 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Wood, Peter H. Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974. Agriculture American agriculture has gone through many dramatic, even traumatic, changes in its more than 350-year history. To begin with, according to Thomas Wessel, author of Agriculture, Indians, and American History, the early colonists’ survival was inextricably linked to the way Native Americans farmed and cultivated the land… American Revolution Facts KidsKonnect alltravel8The American Revolution Teach US History alltravel8The Montvale Free Public Library alltravel8

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