African Americans in the American Revolution

African Americans in the American Revolution Leading into the American Revolution, African Americans were placed in a dilemma of whether to rebel or remain faithful to the crown. There were two sides of the American Revolution; the Patriots (also known as the rebels), were the Americans that wanted to gain their independence from Great Britain. The Loyalist was the people who wanted to stay under the control of Great Britain. Some African Americans joined the Loyalist because they were promised freedom by the British but of course that would not be determined until the actual end result of the war. Although the British were heavily recruiting enslaved African Americans, the Patriots were not as eager to allow African Americans to fight on their side. However, it was not until later into the war when George Washington finally decided to allow free blacks to enlist on the Patriots side because they feared that there would be a rebellion from the slaves.1 While most people viewed the American Revolution as the war for the colonies to gain independence from the British, but African Americans viewed it as the opportunity to obtain their freedom as well.
African Americans made their greatest bid for freedom by fighting on either side of the field in the American Revolution. Early in the Revolution, blacks fought on the Loyalist side and it was not until later in the Revolution when African Americans were allowed to fight on Patriots side and that was only because they were desperately seeking help. But for African Americans it wasn’t about fighting to help either side win, it was more about fighting to achieve the freedom they’ve been long seeking. 2 And with that the British made the first move and told all slaves that they would grant them freedom if they fought on their side. Many American rebel leaders were slave owners. The British governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore made a simple strategy a strategy that he believed that would hit them where it most hurt. In



Cited: Calhoon, R. M. (2009). Three peoples, one king: Loyalists, indians, and slaves in the revolutionary south, 1775-1782. The Journal of Military History, 73(2), 635-637. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/195637365?accountid=28722 Grundset, Eric G. "African Americans of Massachusetts in the Revolution - Massachusetts Society." Massachusetts Society. N.p., 30 June 2013. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. Hochschild, A. (2006). Rough crossings: Britain, the slaves, and the american revolution. Publishers Weekly, 253(10), 56. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/197099760?accountid=28722 Norton, Mary Beth 'The Fate of Some Black Loyalists of the American Revolution ', Journal of Negro History, 58 (4), 1973, 402-26 Pybus, Cassandra. 2006. "from "Epic Journeys of Freedom: Runaway Slaves of the American Revolution and Their Global Quest for Liberty.." Callaloo 29, no. 1: 114-130. Academic Search Elite, EBSCOhost (accessed November 16, 2013). "Stories From The Revolution." National Parks Service. National Parks Service, 04 Dec. 2008. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. The William and Mary Quarterly , Third Series, Vol. 15, No. 4 (Oct., 1958), pp. 494-507 Published by: Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2936904

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