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The New York Conspiracy Trials: Race and Class Essay

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The New York Conspiracy Trials happened in New York during the year 1741. Before this year, countless other slave revolts occurred that made the New Yorkers anxious and nervous for an uprising. During the particularly cold winter of 1741, many whites were afraid that slave revolts would happen again. On top of that, New York had helped Britain against Spain. Countless of these worried folks thought that the slaves (along with some poor whites) and the Spanish were going to work together to overthrow New York. The conspiracy trials proved that all New Yorkers understood the hierarchies of status, race, and gender, even when they imagined overturning some of them. Originally, there were no conspiracy allegations. At first, it began as a…show more content…
The taverns were the only places where they could mingle together without getting in trouble for it. Many of the wealthy whites in New York thought that racial mixing should never occur. According to the witnesses, “the aim of the conspiracy was not so much to eradicate status altogether as to reverse the status of the city`s highest and lowest.” It was said that in the aftermath of the uprising, the tavern keeper would become the king and the slave a governor. However, a white man would still have a more powerful position than a black one. Likewise, even as the black men imagined being more powerful than white men, they envisioned white women as “passive bodies to be handed over from one man to another…” They contemplated women as just pieces of property that did not serve any other purpose other than having children or sex. Back in the eighteenth century, wealth combined with ethnicity, race, family, age, and gender to create social divisions known as “rank.” When social confusion happened in New York, authorities were driven to try to toughen the boundaries of traditional ranks. Through the courts` verdicts, Horsmanden had hoped to create a society in which there were “clear social distinctions between slaves, elite whites, indentured servants, free blacks, and free whites, as well as between men and women in all these categories.” These distinctions were
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