The principles that led the American Revolution were directly opposed to the behavior of the newly formed nation regarding their approval of, and participation in slavery (Horton, 2009). It was absurdly hypocritical to fight for freedom from English while denying freedom to the slaves. The very ideals of life, liberty and freedom to pursue one’s fortune were the driving forces that led the war; the same independence was denied to the slaves, although they fought side by side with their captors (Horton, 2009). In some instances, Southern Blacks fought for their captors, replacing them so they could return home to run their plantations.
Freedom is the carrot that was dangled before Blacks on both sides to enlist their services in the war. Black slaves and indentured servants were promised freedom as a result of their participation, but very few were actually afforded their independence after the battle was over (Dobyns, 2007). The British succeeded in transporting the Blacks to other nations such as Canada, Australia and Sierra Leone, but they were treated the same as before the war (Dobyns, 2007). They rarely received the land or opportunities they were pledged in exchange for their service. In other countries, however, Blacks were afforded the right to sue for what they were promised, and in some instances that was how they actually got their just rewards. In America, a Black person could not even testify against a white person, so any legal recourse to address the wrongs done was not possible. (Dobyns, 2007).
Blacks in the North fared better than those who remained in the South for several reasons. The industry of slavery was not as vital Northern businessmen. Slavery did not hold the same economic impact for the North; it was not crucial to hold slaves to conduct business (Horton, 2009). Blacks in the North benefitted from more abolitionist activities, when in the South, abolition was close to blasphemy. The primary method of obtaining freedom for Blacks in the South before the war remained the same after- as a runaway (Horton, 2009).
- Dobyns, L. (2007). Fighting…maybe for freedom but probably not. Colonial Williamsburg,
Autumn 2007. Retrieved from http://www.history.org/Foundation /journal/Autumn07/
- Horton, J. (2009, April 17). On slavery and the American Revolution. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhwSACtj7Mg