Slavery During The American Revolution

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During the Revolution, thousands of slaves obtained their freedom by running away. Thomas Jefferson estimated that 30,000 slaves fled their masters during the British invasion of Virginia in 1781. Some 5,000 slaves in Georgia and 20,000 slaves in South Carolina--perhaps a quarter of their slave populations--gained freedom as a result of the conflict. By the 1790s, however, the slave population was growing again and was beginning to spread into new lands in what would become the cotton belt. Inspired by the natural rights philosophy of the Revolution, free blacks agitated against slavery. They petitioned Congress to end the slave trade and state legislatures to abolish slavery. They repeatedly pointed out the contradiction between American ideals of liberty and equality and the base reality of slavery. Slaves began to speak the language of natural rights. In 1800, a group of slaves in Virginia plotted to seize the city of Richmond. Led by a man named Gabriel, the insurrection was inspired in part by the slave revolt that began in the French colony of St. Domingue (Haiti) in 1791. It was also motivated by the ideals of liberty that had led the American colonists to revolt against Britain. About 30 of the…show more content…
A lawyer who was present at their trials at Richmond, informed me that on one of them begin asked, what he had to say to the court on his defence, he replied in a manly tone of voice: "I have nothing more to offer than what General Washington would have had to offer, had he been taken by the British and put to trial by them. I have adventured my life in endeavouring to obtain the liberty of my countrymen, and am a willing sacrifice in their cause: and I beg, as a favour, that I may be immediately led to execution. I know that you have pre-determined to shed my blood, why then all this mockery of a
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