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Old November 22nd, 2012, 07:12 AM   #1
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Was the American Revolution really about slavery?


The British offered freedom to slaves who would enlist in their army. Also, many slaves ran away to British lines. The British resettled many of the blacks in the British Army, but many surrendered at Yorktown. Most of the slaves who were POWs or had run away were returned to slavery. Probably many were beaten or worse. The American Revolution is presented as being about American freedom, but it was actually a British attempt to free the slaves.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 07:21 AM   #2

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The Americans were quite clear as to what the Revolution was about:

Quote:
The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.


Source: Declaration of Independence - Text Transcript
Slavery was a part of it, but a very small part.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 07:24 AM   #3

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Also the British had not abolished slavery, and wouldn't for half a century, so it is a bit difficult to see exactly how it could be about slavery.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 07:26 AM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by betgo View Post
The British offered freedom to slaves who would enlist in their army. Also, many slaves ran away to British lines. The British resettled many of the blacks in the British Army, but many surrendered at Yorktown. Most of the slaves who were POWs or had run away were returned to slavery. Probably many were beaten or worse. The American Revolution is presented as being about American freedom, but it was actually a British attempt to free the slaves.

Us Brits were the good guys?????
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 07:30 AM   #5

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The King has refused/forbidden/objected etc......or Parliament has refused/forbidden/objected etc?
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 07:30 AM   #6

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Slavery was irrelevant during the ARW.
As for Rongo's presentation of the Defendant's plea in mitigation, one has to be careful in taking the excuses of smugglers, tax-dodgers, land-grabbers, fugitive debtors, pirates and rabble-rousers seriously.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 07:33 AM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWeaver View Post
The King has refused/forbidden/objected etc......or Parliament has refused/forbidden/objected etc?
I think this is one of the most interesting aspects of the DoI. Prior to this time, the colonists' complaints had all been directed at Parliament. They continued to hold out reverence for the Crown until King George's proclamation of late 1775. At that point it was like a dam bursting. They now blamed the King for EVERYTHING.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 08:33 AM   #8
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NO
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 08:40 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by betgo View Post
The British offered freedom to slaves who would enlist in their army. Also, many slaves ran away to British lines.
True. Lord Dunmore's Proclamation of 1775 opened the doors for slaves to flee at the
first chance. At least 20K joined the ranks in his Ethiopian Regiment. Geo. Washington had some of his slaves eagerly join the British.

Quote:
The British resettled many of the blacks in the British Army, but many surrendered at Yorktown.
The British did take some former bondsmen with them to Nova Scotia, or even London,
but many were later shipped to West Africa.

Quote:
The American Revolution is presented as being about American freedom, but it was actually a British attempt to free the slaves.
Not at all. The British were not concerned at all about slaves, but mostly wanted to
use them to supplement their forces, use them for physical labor, use them to hurt
the American war effort & use them as spies. There was no Cumbaya moment between
the British and bondsmen. The Dec. of Ind. spells out colonial grievances and the
Revolution, just like the American Civil War, was not fought to free slaves.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 09:20 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike McClure View Post
NO
Couldn't have said it better myself.
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