HIS111 Week 3 Assignment Paper

Topics: African American, Southern United States, American Civil War Pages: 7 (1414 words) Published: November 20, 2014


White Women and African Americans After the American Revolution

by:
Julie Ann Burk

Tiffin University

BCJ Northwest 12

HIS111: American Society Since 1865

November 18, 2014

White Women and African Americans After the American Revolution

The American Revolution, as an anti-tax movement, centered on Americans’ right to control their own property. In the 18th century “property” included other human beings, such as African Americans and White Women, as well. This paper will show how white women and African Americans hoped for changes in their respective positions in society after the American Revolution and will analyze the degree to which their conditions actually changed.

In many ways, the American Revolution reinforced an American commitment to slavery. On the other hand, the American Revolution also brought about radical new ideas about “liberty” and “equality” that challenged slavery’s long tradition of extreme human inequality. “The changes to slavery, most important African Americans, in the Revolutionary Era revealed both the potential for radical change and its failure more clearly than any other issue” (Retrieved November 20, 2014, from http://www.ushistory.org/us/13d.asp).

Slavery was a central institution in American society during the late 18th century and was accepted as normal and even applauded as a positive thing by many white Americans. However, this broad acceptance of slavery, which was never agreed to by African Americans, began to be challenged in the Revolutionary Era. The challenge came from several sources, partly from “Revolutionary ideals, partly from a new evangelical religious commitment that stressed the equality of all Christians, and partly from a decline in the profitability of tobacco in the most significant slave region of Virginia and adjoining states” (Retrieved November 20, 2014, from http://www.ushistory.org/us/13d.asp).

Likewise, the decline of slavery in the period was most noticeable in the states north of Delaware, all of which passed laws outlawing slavery quite soon after the end of the war. However, these gradual emancipation laws were very slow to take effect – many of them only freed the children of current slaves, and even then, only when the children turned 25 years old. Although law prohibited slavery in the North, it persisted well into the 19th century.

Even in the South, there was a significant movement toward freeing some African American slaves. In states where tobacco production no longer demanded large number of African American slaves, the free African American population grew rapidly. “By 1810, one-third of the African American population in Maryland was free, and in Delaware free African Americans outnumbered enslaved African Americans by three to one” (Retrieved November 20, 2014, from http://www.ushistory.org/us/13d.asp).

Furthermore, even in the powerful slave state of Virginia, the free African American population grew more rapidly than ever before in the 1780s and 1790s. This new free African American population created a range of public institutions for themselves that usually used the word “African” to announce their distinctive pride and insistence on equality (Retrieved November 20, 2014, from http://www.ushistory.org/us/13d.asp). In fact, the most famous of these new institutions was Richard Allen’s African Methodist Episcopal Church founded in Philadelphia (Retrieved November 20, 2014, from http://www.ushistory.org/us/13d.asp).

Although the rise of the free African American population is one of the most notable achievements of the Revolutionary Era, it is crucial to note that the overall impact of the Revolution on slavery and African Americans also had negative consequences. “In rice-growing regions of South Carolina and Georgia, the Patriot victory confirmed the power of the master class” (Retrieved November 20, 2014, from...
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