Notes: Give Me Liberty! An American History: Chapter 4
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Chapter 4 - Slavery, Freedom, and the Struggle for Empire (to 1763)
- What were the major varieties of African slavery in the 18th century?
- How did AF-AM cultures begin to emerge in the 18th century?
- What were the meanings of BR liberty in the 18th century?
- What were the characteristics of colonial politics in the 18th century?
- What was the significance of the Great Awakening?
- How did the SP and FR empires in AM develop in the 18th century?
- What was the impact of the Seven Year’s War on imperial and Indian-white relations?
Chapter 4 Notes
- Slave - O. Equiano - taken by slave traders to Barbados, then bought by a sea captain who renamed him Gustavus Vassa. Fought in the 7 yrs war, then bought his freedom and wrote a book about his life (described his life as luck)
- First 3/4 of the 18th century was NOT a prelude to AM independence
- Equiano’s story = greatest irony/contradiction in the history of the 18th century
Slavery in the Empire
- Slave trade was vital, but it was later described as a violation against humanity
- The asiento (an agreement whereby Spain subcontracted to a foreign power the right to provide slaves to Spanish AM) was an important diplomatic prize
- First mass consumer goods in international trade were produced by slaves - sugar, rice, coffee, and tobacco; rising demand led to more slave trade
- The Triangular Trades
- BR manufactured goods to AF and the colonies, then AF slaves to New World
- 1720 - Half of the ships leaving New World traded w/ Caribbean.
- Slavery helped colonists get true freedom, and also helped industrial revolution in England.
- Trade primarily consisted of slaves, crops produced by slaves, and goods destined for slave societies
Africa and the slave trade
- Traders didn’t travel inland for slaves, got them at “factories”. Took a while for rulers to agree to it
- AF traded for European guns
The Middle Passage
- 1/5 slaves died along the way. Had to lay down most of the time, were chained to beds, 18 inches above them
- 1/5 of the 2.3 million ppl in the New World were slaves and their descendants
- Slavery expanded with the colonies
Freedom and Slavery in the Chesapeake
- Blacks were considered dangerous and undesirable
- “Free” and “white” had virtually become identical
Indian Slavery in Early Carolina
- Rice production, traded Indian slaves. Creek Indians traded slaves w/ colonies. But as colonial expansion increased, Creek Indians started fearing enslavement themselves
The Rice Kingdom
- Virginia - rice = staple crop that led to the large scale-importation of slaves
- SC was 1st colony to have majority of blacks. 2/3 of population
- Indigo - another staple crop (used for blue dye)
- AF slaves taught colonists how to farm rice, needed big farms to be more profitable. Slaves died b/c of mosquito’s carrying malaria
The Georgia experiment
- Georgia founded by John Oglethorpe, wealthy reformer whose causes included improved conditions for imprisoned debtors and the abolition of slavery.
Slavery in the North
- Slavery wasn’t as important to northern colonies, therefore they were less of a threat (less strict laws b/c of it)
- NY and Philly were using slaves, but it wasn’t worth it to buy a lifetime slave
Slave cultures and Slave Resistance
- Becoming AF-AM
- Many different AF cultures were brought together, all w/ the bond of slavery. Weren’t bonded w/ language, religion, or anything else...just slavery
- Creoles = Slaves born in the New World. AF’s soon just became known as AF-AM’s, w/ no identification to a tribe/etc..
- Three slave systems: Chesapeake - more healthy climate and spoke some English, SCarolina & Georgia - extremely crappy conditions w/ low birth rate (were more autonomous) and spoke Gullah, and Northern Colonies - slaves = smaller part of the population and enjoyed more mobility and access to the mainstream of life
Resistance to Slavery
- Many slaves ran away (usually new young recruits) to Florida or Charleston and Savannah, where they could pass for free.
- Signs for fugitives everywhere (“May pretend to be free”)
- Were many uprisings to scare fugitive slaves
The Crisis of 1739-1741
- During War of Jenkins Ear, Af’s took guns/ammo and marched towards Florida
- Stono Rebellion - led to a severe tightening of the SC slave code
- 1741 - Panic thru NYC said slaves would burn the city down
An Empire of Freedom, (basically, BR thinks (and is) that they are freaking awesome in every way! SWAG.)
- BR Patriotism
- England was very proud of themselves b/c they were the most advanced and freest nation.
- Also enjoyed commonality w/ law, religion, and language. Wealth, religion, and freedom went together
- BR also had powerful military and complex government
The BR Constitution
- Liberty was central to BR ppl, they believed power and liberty to be natural antagonists
- ENG’s political system had many checks and balances (also no one was above the law). Was the best way to prevent tyranny
- ENG thought other nations were enslaved and not as good as them
The language of liberty
- The ideas (above) resonated with British ppl everywhere (colonists, etc..)
- Liberty was central to two sets of political ideas: one was...
- Republicanism - celebrated active party participation in public life by economically independent citizens as the essence of liberty
- Most associated w/ Country party in England
- Liberalism - Whereas republican liberty had a public and social quality, liberalism was essentially individual and private
- John Locke -wrote Two Treatises on Government, it said that government was not like a family, it was like a “social contract” where ppl surrendered some rights to be protected by the law.
- He spoke of liberty as universal, but restricted some ppl’s from it
Both Repub. and Lib. = alternative understandings of freedom, both emphasized the security of property as a foundation of freedom The Public Sphere
- In colonies w/ diversity (NY), there were frequent uprisings. Was rare in other colonies
- The Right to Vote
- Said that slaves, servants, tenants, adult sons living in parent homes, the poor, and women all lacked a “will of their own”, thus making them unintelligible to vote
- Mostly a male prerogative
- Most offices didn’t keep contact w/ their constituents
- Property requirements for officeholding were far higher than for voting
- Few Americans vigorously pursued elective office or took an active role in public affairs
- BR adopted a policy of “salutary neglect” towards colonies, leaving them to govern themselves. B/c of this, large landowners, merchants, and lawyers claimed the right to control local politics
The Rise of the Assemblies
- Gov = focal point of political authority in 17th century
- Most powerful assembly was Pennsylvania’s; new charter (1701) - established the only uni-cameral legislature in the colonies
- Started printing money b/c silver and gold was so scarce
Politics in Public
- “Political nation” was dominated by the gentry
The Colonial Press
- 18th century - it spread throughout ENG like crazy
- By the eave of the AM Revolution, 3/4 of the free male population could readand write.
- Libraries started popping up all around Britain. First continuously published colonial newspaper = the Boston NewsLetter (1704). Penn. Gazette = best-edited (2,000 subscribers at peak)
Freedom of Expression and its Limits
- Freedom of speech, and Freedom of the press = both sides of Atlantic viewed these as very dangerous. Eventually said that you needed to have a gov license to print anything
- Ppl could be punished for “seditious libel” - a crime that included defaming gov officials
The Trial of Zenger
- Most famous court case involving freedom of the press
- John Peter Zenger - German born printer who went to NY as youth. He published “libel”, but it was true so he wasn’t guilty in trial
The AM Enlightenment
- Philosophical movement - sought to apply to political and social life the Scientific Method of carful investigation based on research and experiment.
- These thinkers held that “reason,” not religious enthusiasm, could govern human life
- Deism developed here
- Isaac Newton also revealed the natural laws that governed the Universe.
- Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were classified as deists.
The Great Awakening
- Religion was central to American life
- Religious Revivals
- Revivals that were less a coordinated movement than a series of local events united by a commitment to a “religion of the heart,”
- Jonathan Edwards and his famous sermon - Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God; only a new birth and divine grace could save men from eternal damnation
The Preaching of Whitfield
- He preached that God was merciful. He was made a celebrity b/c of his sermons. Traveling preachers followed him and held revivalist meetings
- Critics - produced sermons, pamphlets, newspaper, etc against revivalist-ers
- New church denominations created - Old Lights (traditionalists) and New Lights (revivalists): Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and others created
The Awakening’s Impact
- Criticized farmers for only going for profit. Few preachers condemned slavery
- B/c of newspaper fights, papers spread all throughout colonies; and it also helped colonists to trust their own views rather than just the elites
- Spanish North America
- Pacific Coast and New Mexico into the Great Plains eastward thru Texas and Florida
The Spanish in California
- California’s first mission - San Diego
- 1800 - Los Angeles was the largest town w/ 300 ppl
The FR Empire
- Greater rival to England than Spain
- New Orleans was a big city (1718) - population was 55k by 1750. It had a vibrant social life as well as an established community w/ churches, schools, and gov buildings
Battle for the Continent
- The Middle Ground
- Ohio River Valley always a struggle btwn FR, BR, rival Indian communities, and settlers/land companies
- Middle Ground was the area btwn European empires and Indian sovereignty.
- Indians knew that confronting either FR or BR meant suicide, so they tried to play it safe and sneaky. Iroquois were masters of balance-of-power diplomacy
- Ohio Company given half a million acres land grant to be dished out to colonists.
- This caused the FR to make themselves more apparent in the area, eventually causing the 7 Years War.
The Seven Year’s War
- George Washington- established Fort Necessity, but surrendered soon after.
- 2 years, the war went against the BR. Indians killed hundreds of colonists.
- BR took out a FR place, sending some FR ppl to Louisiana (called Cajuns)
- Also captured FR forts in Fort Duquesne, Ticonderoga, and Louisburg. Lastly defeated the FR army at Quebec....O ya, totally pwned fool
A World Transformed
- FR ceded Canada to BR, Spain ceded Florida to BR in exchange for Cuba and the Philippines. SP also got the Louisiana colony from FR
- Now, w/ an exception to two FR islands, everything east of the Mississippi River was now in BR control
- The Seven Year’s War put strains on all the participants
- B/c Indian’s fought for the FR, and now the FR were essentially out of the New World, the Indian’s felt threatened. FR ceded lands that Indians claimed as their own
- Indians of the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes launched a revolt
- Really led by a Delaware religious prophet (Neolin) - he argued that all Indians were a same person
The Proclamation Line
- Proclamation of 1763 - prohibited further colonial settlement west of the Appalachian Mtns; this land was exclusively reserved for the Indians. It also banned the sale of Indian lands to private individuals.
- George Washington and other colonists ignored the above and bought as much land west as they could.
Pennsylvania and the Indians
- Western Pennsylvanians demanded that colonial authorities adopt a more aggressive stance towards Indians
- During Pontiac’s Rebellion, a party of 50 Penn’s massacred Indians
- Paxton Boys marched on Philly forcing the gov to force the expulsion of much of the nearby Indian population
- William Penn’s “Holy Experiment” of “true friendship and amity” was now over
- Colonists emerged from the Seven Years War w/ a whole new collective identity, w/ greater bonds to each other.
- The Albany Plan of Union of 1754, drafted by Benjamin Franklin, envisioned the creation of a Grand Council composed of delegates from each colony, with the power to levy taxes and deal w/ Indian relations and the common defense.
- Too bad it was rejected :(
The 7 years war also strengthened the colonists’ pride in being members of the BR empire..colonists more unified w/ BR After 1763, BR’s global empire was neither Protestant nor British nor free. Colonists soon came to believe that membership in the empire jeopardized their liberty
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