16 thoughts on “Geography of the South – Blog Exercise 1

  1. It feels obvious that the British must have been stretched financially and physically trying to defend her colonies and home abroad. Having a surplus of slaves looking for a better opportunity in life and liberty were the prime candidates. The Africans were once told that if they serve at least six to seven years as an indentured servant, they will be granted a full pardon and will be recognized as a free person (who probably could not vote). However, the New World had greed and selfishness play out its ugly head. African slaves were treated more like investments, and most people do not want to lose a return on their investment. Therefore, the indentured servitude did not apply to African slaves in the New World. The slaves had been pursued by the crown to allow them participate in a war that may give them freedom from their masters. The chance of freedom required them to help win the war and return for their loyal services to the crown. The slaves will become free in which they had probably already earned or deserved. Putting the slaves in harm’s way was one thing, but the slaves had to flee treacherous land in order to side with the British military. Runaway slaves were moving about the New World with numbers totaling about 150,000 people fleeing especially women and children. Once there the slaves had to be informed what was expected of them in the ugly, dirty, and dangerous war in which there are not enough words to explain what they will have to see and endure. Even though, the slaves were not guaranteed a safe return home. Those slaves are remembered as the Black Loyalists who began their journey to freedom in the Revolution War. The British lost the war, but remained determined to allow the Black Loyalists to become free from servitude. The Black Loyalists traveled north landing in Canada and places called Nova Scotia in which embodied about 3500 former slaves. There was were some of the first black communities were started. Taken all of these few events in to account, those slaves must have sent a strong message to the outside world during that era. Slaves if united and determined, can rise and be recognized as a force especially when dealing with their livelihood for their future. The Africans were fighting a war for the British for freedom not money or status. The slaves were concerned for their well-beings of their fellow comrades and showed that courage in high class fashion in a war that death is the most likely outcome

  2. Black Loyalists did not stand with the king as much as they stood against slavery. John Murray, Earl of Dunmore, royal governor of Virginia, was desperate in November 1775 when he declared martial law and issued the proclamation of freedom for slaves willing to protect the British. Earlier that year he had confiscated Williamsburg’s gunpowder and claimed it was to keep it out of the hands of slaves intent on insurrection, even though it most certainly was in order to keep it out of the hands of potential rebels. The citizens weren’t buying his claims, so he began to threaten the colonists with the slaves’ freedom. Eventually he made good on that threat – offering freedom to those who escaped from non-Loyalist owners to fight for the crown (not Loyalists’ slaves, not women, and not those too young or old to bear arms).

    That isn’t to say that British Loyalists didn’t appreciated the help of figures such as Titus Cornelius, a particularly successful runaway turned guerilla Loyalist. John S. Copley even inaccurately memorialized the role they played by including a black man in his depiction of the Battle of Jersey, The Death of Major Peirson. The black soldier is wearing the uniform of an all-black Loyalist regiment, the Royal Ethiopians. This regiment formed in the wake of Dunmore’s proclamation, and Titus Cornelius is just one example of a slave who escaped, donned the uniform, and fought for the British in the late 1770’s. The uniforms included the phrase – Liberty to Slaves.

    After the war, Black Loyalist soldiers expected that liberty as well as land, both promised to them by the British. Thousands were ‘repatriated’ in British Canada, along with White Loyalists; issues of racial discrimination and inequality followed them north. Birchtown, the largest of the new settlements, was founded in 1783. By 1792 it had withered and another attempt was made, this time to repatriate blacks all the way back to Africa. Approximately 1200 left Canada to found a colony of free blacks in Sierra Leone, on the west coast of Africa.

    The ego of royal governance, exemplified in John Murray, is not surprising. He had only been in Virginia since 1771, but felt he knew the people and culture well enough to manipulate it. Unintentionally his emancipation proclamation strengthened the revolutionary footing and resolve of moderates. The traditionalist political structure of the south meant that powerful Virginians would have preferred to see the status quo maintained, the rule of the elite preserved. Dunmore very much wanted the same…and mistakenly believed that his offer would be so widely accepted as to make the crown victorious over the rebels. He overestimated loyalty to a distant king and underestimated the economic and cultural attachment to slavery in the colonies.

    It took nearly another hundred years for the country to abolish slavery, and it got worse before it got better. What startles me most about this time is the hypocrisy – the ability of the rebels to shake their fists at Britain for her supposed subjugation of the colonies and yet stand by the terrible institution of slavery.

  3. Reblogged this on Neverending Wanderlust and commented:
    Before the start of the American Revolution, the South was much more closely linked to Britain than the North. The southern white landowners, who held nearly all of the political power, were almost universally English and Anglican. The majority of other whites in the South were also from Britain. Why, then, did the South join with the North in the Revolution? After all, the South also had very close economic ties to mother England. Much of the answer can be found in decisions made by the British regarding the status of slavery and slaves in the early/mid-1770s.

    The first major event that began to change the minds of Southerners about the Northern agitation for independence was the Somerset decision of 1772. This decision, which sprung from an American slave escaping from (and then being recaptured by) his master while in Britain, completely changed British common law by disallowing the recapture of escaped slaves and stating that the institution of slavery was incompatible with the British legal system. The word of this decision spread rapidly in the South, where many aristocratic landowners’ sons were lawyers. Logically, these Southern lawyers believed that the Somerset decision meant that Britain would soon force emancipation on the American colonies. This unsurprisingly did not sit well with the majority of whites in the south. The rich whites were concerned of the economic impact of the emancipation of the slaves and the loss of free labor, while the poor whites were concerned about the social impact of emancipation when slaves accounted for nearly 50% of the population in some southern colonies.

    The second major event that pulled the South further away from Britain was the Dunmore Proclamation of 1775. The Revolution had just begun, and Lord Dunmore declared martial law in Virginia and said that slaves who left their masters in order to fight for the British would be emancipated. About one hundred fifty thousand slaves, including women and children, took Lord Dunmore up on his offer. For Southerners, this was the last straw. They saw the Dunmore Proclamation as a way for the British government to incite slave revolts in the colonies. After the Dunmore Proclamation, the South became more committed to the cause of revolution, as it had almost become personal to them. The Dunmore Proclamation earned King George III the nickname of the “sceptered savage” in the colonies, revealing how strongly they felt about both the king and Native Americans. After the conclusion of the Revolution, the British government compensated American planters who lost slaves as a result of the Dunmore Proclamation, but this was too little, too late, and failed to change Southerners’ opinions about Britain.

  4. We all know the famous story about James Somerset who got his freedom from a decision from the Judge Lord Mansfield on 1772. When the decision was personal, it was turned to the whole slaves in England. The News paper published it in colonies in America in a time when there is a big problem which is taxation. This can light the fire of revolutionary war.
    On 1770 was the first blood action that led to the revolutionary war which is in Boston Massacre. Five of protesters were shot and killed. It is simply because Boston were more violent then the other colonies in their reaction against taxations that are imposed by British such as Stamp Act which is repealed so fast after it was rejected from colonies, Sugar Act, and Townshend Acts.
    Revolutionary War began on 1775. Slaves played a big role in it, and colonies and British were aware if that. So, British promised freedom for every slaves who join the British army. Also, states such as Virginia do so. However, many slaves ran away such as those in Gorgia. Third of the colony, who were slaves, ran away. But the majority served in army for freedom. We can call this war “ Slavery War” because of the big role they played.
    If we imagine living in that time, we can see how slaves’ holders scared to do to the battle field because simply in case the slaves rose up, they would slaughter their families in their absence. So, we can see how slavery turned to something British worry about or scared from. This is maybe what Sir John Fielding, the man who modernized the police force in London, meant in his book when he was discouraging people from bringing slaves to England.
    After the American revolution, 30,000-35,000 loyalists who remained loyal to British moved to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick on 1783. They brought with them the black people who came as slaves, servants, free blacks, and loyal blacks. Some statistics say they are around 1,232 and another says 1,578 servants. In Quaker settlement, slaves’ owner were found unwelcome. So they create an agreement with a name “No Slave Master Admitted” to be the only settlement on the province were owning a slave is prohibited on 1784, but this faced a disagreement from other settlements in the province.
    Slavery in Brunswick province was not legalized in that time. However, it is exist because it was common in British colonies. On 1800, several failure attempts were done to abolition slavery by people who volunteered to protect the human rights such as Ward Chipman and Denny Street. The judgment was always given in slaves owner favor, and slaves return back to their owners. In the other side, slavery supporters attempt to legalize slavery in the province. With this conflict, slaves diminished in value and not easy to sell and buy. They start to escape more often then before. So their master made an agreement with their slaves that they serve for six years and then they can be free. So that mean slaves became indentured servants.

  5. This series of images demonstrated the evolution of the role African Americans played in the Revolutionary War. African Americans fought with the Loyalists rather than the Patriots. Why wouldn’t they fight against the people who enslaved them? There were black and white indentured servants, but when the labor intensity increased and labor was needed, it was the black indentured servants who became slaves. The Loyalists were able to recognize a potential ally against the Patriots with their slaves. They were actively recruited with the promise of personal freedom, Lord Dunmore promised any slaves willing to fight with the British would receive their freedom. As the war turned in favor of the Patriots many of the former slaves fled seeking freedom, and trying to avoid re-enslavement.

  6. The colonies of the South grew through a series of settlements and various colonies, the first of which began in 1585 in Virginia. The colonies were founded by landed aristocrats from England and established an agrarian economic system that helped to maintain their socioeconomic power. As the settlement increased and the agrarian economic structure took hold, tobacco, rice, and cotton dominated the southern colonial landscape. As these cash crops increased in acreage and demand grew in England, subsequently the demand for a cheap workforce increased, as well. What began as a predominantly indentured servant labor force of various ethnic makeup shifted toward an African slave workforce in the 1640s. In fact, in 1662 Virginia passed a law that stated all children born into bondage remained in bondage, but these children could be, while highly unlikely, emancipated.

    The landed elite and their second sons, who were often lawyers, saw themselves more as Anglican rather than American colonists. In fact, many of the large plantation owners could trace their family lineages back across the pond. The succession fervor that was sweeping the Northern colonies fell on deaf ears since the close ethnic and familial ties to England, but that would all change in the 1770s. On June 22, 1772 a British judge ruled that slavery was not compatible with English law. Since American Law draws heavily on British Common Law, the Sommerset Ruling posed a possible contraction to the legality of slavery. The ruling galvanized the South’s resolve towards England, and began the discussion of the Southern colonies joining the revolt against England.

    The next development in the 1770s that pushed the Southern colonies to join the Revolution was the Lord Dunmore Proclamation of 1775. The proclamation stated that any slave that escaped his master and joined the British lines would then be emancipated from their bondage. Lord Dunmore also placed the Virginia Colony under martial law. The Dunmore Proclamation would be on par with the more common causes of the agitation as the intolerable acts in the Northern colonies. By the end of the war over 150,000 slaves ran away from their masters, and tens of thousands do end up joining the fight on the side of the British. At the end of the war 3,500 freed slaves had to be evacuated to Nova Scotia, the British version of Liberia. One of the clauses in the treaty that ended the war stated that the British were fiscally responsible for the damages to the slavery infrastructure in the Southern colonies.

  7. There were a multitude of factors that contributed to the overall attitude felt in the South at the conclusion of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and years after.

    As one might expect, Lord Dunmore’s 1775 proclamation was sensationally controversial. In the proclamation, it is declared that any slave who comes to the British line and pledges allegiance to the Crown and Royal Army will be freed. To the slaves, the idea of escaping to freedom through British loyalty was more appealing than staying. And though the number of escapees is relatively small when compared to the number of slaves who remained, it was enough to bring about certain emotions in the slave owners. While the owners were certainly outraged, they were also left with a greater sense of vulnerability and fear knowing that there could possibly be a slave rebellion, if Dunmore was successful in his endeavors. Overall, the proclamation had little success, but was representative of an overall trend that was beginning to strengthen: the idea of mass emancipation.

    The court case of Somerset versus Stewart was also highly influential on the mentality of the South at this time. The case revolved around James Somerset, a slave in Britain, who had escaped, was recaptured, and then tried in the English court. At the conclusion of the trial, Lord Mansfield announced that an escaped slave may not be recaptured by his former owners. He declares that slavery is incompatible with English law and that “it is so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it, but positive law.” In the end, James Somerset was freed and abolitionists rejoiced. The British were spreading the concept of emancipation to the colonies and doing so with a firm hand. A seed had been planted in the minds of the citizens, and discussions of what might happen with emancipation ignited. The case provided heavy support for the abolitionist movement and was easily one of the most influential cases in the movement for emancipation throughout the world.

    Both Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation of 1775 and the Somerset case were critical factors to the growing movement towards slave freedom. They strengthened the idea that freedom was even a possibility and therefore provided a basis for people to argue that slavery should not be allowed in the United States.

  8. Perhaps it stems from the defensive pride which develops within a group, or perhaps it’s something more sinister such as American selfishness, but the phrase ‘history is what you make it to be’ seems to apply to our version of the Revolutionary War. For Americans, we fought to free ourselves the British, and in doing so worked to end slavery (i.e. ending our own oppression led to the end of black oppression). Naïve and subject to the unfailingly accurate textbooks of primary school, the one sole fact about blacks in the war that I can ever recall being taught…. was that the first person to die to a British bullet in the war was a black man.

    Is this on account of our shame about slavery? Do Americans tell stories to cover up our past in hopes that no one will dredge it up? In the beginning, this may have been true, but ignorance and pride seem to have propagated the error. Now, it’s no longer an intentional lie or misleading, but simple failure to learn, and then we pass this failure on to our children.

    Perhaps American sentiment is so caught up in the passion behind believing in the underdog that we don’t quite realize we made the underdog? In any case, if you happened across any American in the south, I’d give you a better chance of winning a roulette spin than finding a person who has ever heard that thousands of slaves fought on behalf of the British. I’d give less odds on finding a person who believed it.

    Now, despite fighting for the British and gaining their freedom from American owners, blacks in the colonies were not that well-treated. It seems that despite their aid in boosting British troop numbers, they were not given proper supplies, housing, etc., but then, when one thinks about it, could they have been given such things?

    Even modern interpretations of war deal with the issue of supplies, as when Stannis Baratheon went to the north and captured several thousand wildlings. What becomes of a group who cannot be fed or housed, yet you are responsible for this group? Commonly, it seems, you ignore the problem, or pass it off to an underling who passes it off and so on as each person becomes less and less capable of dealing with the problem.

    In some limited cases, we rely upon law to accomplish a humanitarian goal, as in the case of James Sommersett. Now admittedly to use the law in one’s favor of accomplishing such a goal, one must also have the power to enforce the law. In the heart of Britain, this was the case, however when it came time to free all the slaves in the south, Abraham Lincoln was not in control of the country and able to impose law upon slavers.

    What is most curious about our assumptions regarding the Revolutionary War is that the same assumptions extend to our military efforts. We send troops to give freedom, do we not? Or have we become the same minions of power that we still believe the British to have been?

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