The American Revolution: Freedom for the White Man

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The American Revolution was a glorious war fought to free the American colonies from the British rule. Although we won that war, there were still many people who were not free from our rule. One group of people were the black slaves. The black people had many struggles to freedom which helped shape our American culture today. Three different periods characterized there struggles: the slaves before the Civil War, during Reconstruction, and during the civil rights movements. These three eras mark a pivotal point in the movement and advancement of the black race to social equality. During the time before the Civil War, it was not easy for slaves to organize and rebel against their slaveholders or whites in general. There were numerous laws that specifically took away slaves rights as men. Slaves also feared the whip and even death if they were to act out against their owners. The Declaration of Independence did not apply to many groups and the black race was one of those excluded groups. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness"(Primus 295). Thomas Jefferson, having slaves himself, recognized the fact that he could not free the slaves himself in that document. It was difficult enough for him to get the Declaration approved by all of the colonies in itself. In fact the last man to sign the Declaration of Independence did not do so until the year 1778. The slaves were kept in ignorance of any knowledge which might have led to their freedom. Laws forbade reading and writing for slaves. They also forbade anyone to teach a slave to read. To keep the slaves obedient, slaveholders often made an example of a slave by beating him with the cow skin, or even killing him. "He[Gore] gave Denby but few stripes; the latter broke away from him and plunged into the creek, and, standing there to the depth of his neck in water, he refused to come out at the order of the overseer; whereupon, for this refusal, Gore shot him dead!"(My Bondage and My Freedom 122). This era was definitely a period were the black people had little voice in their future and society. Most people in the north felt differently however. These people were called the abolitionists, and they were dedicated to freeing the slaves. The southern states, strongly disagreed with their views and

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