Blacks in the American Revolution Essay

1812 Words8 Pages
The American Revolution resonated with all classes of society, as it stood to divide a nation’s loyalties and recreate the existing fabric of society. During the 1770s to mid 1780s, no group living in the British American colonies was left unaffected. For blacks enslaved in America, the war presented the fleeting possibility of freedom in a nation that was still dependent on an economic structure of oppression and bondage. For those blacks that were free, they chose their alliances wisely in hopes of gaining economic opportunities and improving their status in the American colonies. The American Negroes, whether free or enslaved, could be found on either side of the battlefront. They took on many different roles, some fighting on the…show more content…
” For many, the economic structure of slavery still held strong and it established status in British America. Slavery had begun in the later half of the 17th century and in many ways, it had made Atlantic commerce and overseas settlement possible. Thousands of Africans had been shipped overseas to work in the fields of staple crops. In the years leading up to the American Revolution, high concentrations of slaves remained in the southern colonies where they continued to labour on cotton and tobacco plantations. Of the thirteen colonies, Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas held the highest concentrations of slaves. In 1775, it is estimated that of the 2.5 million people living in the thirteen colonies, 500,000 were blacks. The vast majority of these blacks were slaves, with many labouring for their masters under harsh conditions. Although their experiences were difficult, blacks rarely revolted or staged rebellions against their masters. This has often been associated with the plantation system, and the role it played in severing blacks’ ties to one another. As highlighted by historian Silvia Frey, “The North American plantation organization, with the dominating presence of the master, inhibited the development of the tribal cohesiveness that characterized the islands’ plantation organization and produced widespread violence against whites by black guerrilla bands.” However, despite the absence of any significant
Get Access