The Relationship between Slavery and Freedom in Provincial Chesapeake Essay

The Relationship between Slavery and Freedom in Provincial Chesapeake Essay

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The Relationship between Slavery and Freedom in Provincial Chesapeake

Edmund S. Morgan has presented an interesting question regarding the question of the colonists' treatment of slavery as a special circumstance, one that is separate from freedom. The promotion of freedom by the Virginia settlers to their own kind, but not to those whose skin was a darker shade, exhibits the tough judgment calls that had to be made to help the colony survive. There seemed to be a more prevalent concern among the upper class of Virginian settlers: poor freedmen, and their possible uprising against the ruling class. Slavery became an idea that made the most sense and the best match for the Virginia colonists' situation. This does not mean slavery is a correct civil practice, but it was the only method explored that seemed to correct the problem with freedmen. The freedmen presented two problems (in Jeffersonian philosophy, at least) to the colonists: the inevitable debt they would incur, and their migration to positions of manufacturing. Only through the revelation of slavery were the Virginians able to begin comprehending the true meaning of freedom.

The "riff-raff" that began populating Virginia in the mid-1600's were people who had been forced out of England for punishment's sake, hope of a new life, or just general disapproval of English life. These men (men outnumbered women by three or four to one in Virginia) found themselves stuck in a situation out of their control: they had no land, no family, and no job opportunity. Their only option was to work for the large planters for a period before they received land of their own. After tobacco prices plummeted, these freedmen had little chance of success in the growers' market....

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2) Price, Glenn W., Origins of the War with Mexico: The Polk-Stockton Intrigues (University of Texas Press, 1967)

1) Watson, Samuel J., "Manifest Detiny and Military Professionalism: Junior U.S. Army Officers' Attitudes Toward War with Mexico, 1844-1846," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 99 (April, 1996):466-498.
2) Lavender, David, "How to Make It to the White House Without Really Trying," American Heritage 18 (June, 1967):26-27, 80-86.

Primary Sources:
1) Jay, William, A Review of the Causes and Consequences of the Mexican War [1849] (rept. Arno Press, 1969)
2) Tennery, Thomas D., The Mexican War Diary [1846-47] (pub. University of Oklahoma Press, 1970)

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