Slavery and the Status of Women after the Revolution
During the American Revolution, the colonists were fighting for independence from the British because they felt that their “natural rights” were being violated through the numerous amounts of acts passed by parliament. The idea of “Natural rights” came from John Locke, an enlightenment thinker, who stated that everyone is born with these rights and born with a blank slate which is filled with knowledge from a person’s environment. Colonists took Locke’s idea as a reason to fight against England and eventually using his ideas to improve the lives of women and slaves from 1776-1800. Before the American Revolution, slaves were force to work the on sugar plantations and Tobacco plantations under harsh conditions. They were considered property, not human. Men were considered far more superior than women. They did not have the right to vote, own property, or hold office.
During the American Revolution, slaves had the choice to fight with the British or fight with the Patriots. Most of the slaves south of New England sided with Britain because of Dunmore’s Proclamation. The document, written by John Murray, Forth Earl of Dunmore, the Royal governor of the British of Virginia, was signed in 1775 and declared martial law and promised freedom for slaves of American Patriots who left their masters and joined the Royal forces. Slaves in New England believed that they had a greater chance at freedom by joining the rebels and volunteering for the military service. 50,000 slaves were able to escape during the war, and 20,000 slaves were evacuated by the British. Although the British were able to evacuate thousands of slaves, it was not always easy or successful. In South Carolina, hundreds of slaves reached the Sea Islands in an effort to join the British during Clinton’s 1776 invasion, only to face their owners when the British failed to rescue them. Most won their freedom through the British even though the British...
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