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The American Revolution took place between 1765 up until 1783. The war was fought over America’s independence from Britain, which they won. Many people died during the war between America and Britain. There were many loses for both sides, but the war also had its benefits. Freedom was offered to the slaves who fought for either the British or the Continental army, blacks were also treated more humanely then before the war.
Both sides needed more men to fight for them, and with the slave population being at its peak it was the optimal choice. Unlike normal soldiers who fought for pay, slaves were offered freedom by the British and the colonist. In a slave’s view “women and men knew what freedom meant and were willing to make their own declarations of independence by leaping over plantation boundaries and giving liberty a running chance” (Ripper, 2008). Slaves would run away from their owners fully knowing the consequences and the bounties put on them due to them running away, but even the slim chance of being free convinced them that it was worth it.
The war also displayed that no matter what color skin they may be, they can all fight towards a common goal which was liberty. Slaves during and after the war could take to court the matter of slavery and bring it to the higher-ups. Mum Bett was the first to sue her owner for “for freedom after getting burned by a “fire shovel” he swung at Mum Bett’s sister” (Ripper, 2008). Many others soon followed suit and tried their luck. Slave men also petitioned legally why they weren’t free, four men wrote a letter “to the town of Thompson’s representative in the Massachusetts assembly. Noting that the “divine spirit of freedom, seems to fire every humane breast on this continent” (Ripper, 2008), they argued that the people of the province were moved by equity and justice and they should, in turn, grant freedom to the slaves. Benjamin Banneker also exhibits his opinion on the matter. He also wrote a letter, this one addressed to Thomas Jefferson, stating how could we as a country be founded on equality when African Americans were under captivity and cruel oppression. These cries for plea were not in vain, “States throughout the North began providing for the gradual emancipation of their slaves… in response to the petitions written by African-Americans, the sacrifices made by about 5,000 black soldiers” (Ripper, 2008).
Banneker was also an example proving that blacks were as capable as whites in many matters. He was raised on a farm but was also interested in books and other scientific topics. He became friends with the Ellicot’s son, George, that lived near his farm. George even recognized that he had a keen mind, George having connections in his family recommended Banneker to help Charles Ellicot, who was appointed lead surveyor for the District of Columbia. Banneker wrote a personal letter to Thomas Jefferson of his view of slavery, Jefferson agreed saying “’No body wishes more than I do,’ Jefferson replied, ‘to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren talents equal to those of the other colors of men’” (Ripper, 2008). I personally believed this to happen due to the war and the promises made to slaves.
The American Revolution changed many aspects of life for slaves. They were granted freedom for those that fought in the war as well as the idea of abolishing slavery coming to the minds of many. Do you believe that the war is the reason why slavery is now abolished?
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