thumbnail of Africans in America; 102; Revolution; 
     Interview with John Kaminski, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin
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oh well for is the lack of cohesion among american college in the job there really what this is oh yes thomas paine in a commonsense he he said that one reason for his advocacy of independence from england was that anyone was not the mother of america europe was the mother of america calmness came from all over europe primarily union to be sure but from from many areas of our european in areas that did not speak english of the dutch were there the germans were there in french people from those areas sometimes they came voluntarily other times they came because they were forced to allow for one reason other profusely but primarily they
came for economic reasons to better their lives once they came to the new world the colonies were separated from each other more often than that they had conflicts with each other sometimes ending up with actual warfare so their real connection there cohesiveness was with the mother country with great britain they felt more allegiance call me to great britain rather than calming the colony that was a conflict among the comments what you were doing your job is massachusetts with that in many ways it was just
a kid yes the colleges were established differently they came from different areas the settlers different areas of europe not just from anyone our summer colleagues were offshoots of each other realm was started by roger williams and her in hutchinson corbin from massachusetts north carolina was settled to a great extent from mud debtors who had escaped from virginia george was so often to a great extent by debtors' from england was sent over so there there was not any sense of cohesion bit different religions they fought over land lee and tyler was uncertain and so you have border conflicts virginia and pennsylvania are actually indian aha well warfare where they are firing on each other so there's a great deal of
animosity between the different colonies sometimes water to colonies would work together that would be something that would bring them together or with a french about when their french danger was eliminated after seventeen sixty three then the animosity of the colonies was free to the race itself is that it's not always all its slave population now the institutional practices that all well yes everyone did obviously the southern colonies ahead a higher percentage higher numbers and their economies were based much more on any
system of slavery but the fact of the matter was that in the northern colonies typically around him as too says these colonies head as a stable part of it their economies the transportation of africans to the new world whether that be the west indies or the southern cone is the slave trade and that was a very important part of their economy if they couldn't sell their slaves in those areas they brought them back to the homecoming all in all the colonies counties did have how slaves the southern colonies had more their economies were based upon slave populations the northern colonies
some of them head slaves because they were the transporters of slaves mass chooses and around for instance or were heavily involved in the foreign slave trade bringing slaves from africa to america and to the west indies but you have some northern colonies for instance new york and around him to cure that had plantations and slavery was a significant component of that agricultural system ways in ways in which of themselves to enjoy this is the point what one slave owner would normally think is that i didn't start the system the system
was here when i came along my father and my grandfather had slavery and so i'm just carrying on that system and they might attempt to ameliorate their own consciences by suggesting that they would have a mild system of slavery for their own particular slaves but for the most part they didn't picture in moral terms it was just a system that had been established it was the status quo when they came along and they accepted it they didn't let more to get in the way for the most part and just skipping on into the insurgents having me at the boston massacre his own hands
that was the boston massacre as being in israel's orange and the boston massacre occurred in march of seventeen seventy yet a time when opposition to british commercial policy was dying off inst so you had two regiments of british troops stationed in boston when this conflict between the bostonians in the various soldiers blowup one evening into this situation where three individuals were killed on the spot two others were killed died subsequently from their wounds these men became instant martyrs in the revolutionary movement it showed the danger of a standing army it showed the danger of the lack of
civilian control over the army shelled the danger of great britain having this power or the colonies every comic experienced the same problem it wasn't isolated only to massachusetts these people were eulogized year after year on the anniversary and the times in which they were utilize became more and more sympathetic to them these were noble men it came out they were fathers and sons not one of them was merit that will be ashes they had no children but all the orphans that were left from them this became a cause celeb and it became something that every single colony head to fear from the british
colonial washington can you explain to me the thinking behind washington's election in congo's a bitter nor themselves and creating a sense of nationalism and the national interest george washington's election as commander george washington emerged from the french and indian war as the only true american hero he had led the virginia virginia militia commander in chief at the age of twenty two second astounding thing he had resigned his commission he'd want to become a british officer the british didn't want him he was in the famous defeat defeat bullets head shout out to horses from under him killed two horses a third was wounded was pierced his clothing his
hat and his coat but he was on skis the only officer to escape not wounded and many of the officers were killed he wrote his older brother jack kenny told him that he heard the whistle of the bullets he explained to me yes he had fought in the french and indian war had been very successful as the commander in chief of the british of the virginia militia at a very young age he had shown his coolness under fire he brought the troops out of this terrible defeat products to feed kept them together as they ran for cover he put his military uniform way
went back to farming joined the house a brick he says was involved in the revolutionary movement politically but when he was elected to the outcome of congress the second time in congress he was the only delegate who attended wearing a military uniform of gray a new militia uniforms connell which was his his rank he was going to look at to come and address that way he was giving the dough is a signal but there was another man who want to be appointed commander in chief and that was president john hancock and was customary for the civilian commander to be named the commander of the military forces and so john hancock realize that you had a boston and new england army in boston at the time he was the likely candidate
when it came time for the nomination and cut felt sure he would get it because he was presiding in john adams his fellow massachusetts delegate was to make the nomination and it was to be seconded by samuel adams also from massachusetts and so one john adams got up and said we needed a man of stature a man of honesty a man of wealth who could not be bribed and john hancock was perhaps the wealthiest man in the colonies who was once selected we needed a man from virginia john adams and john hancock probably almost fell off his chair listening to this and samuel adams second at the nomination the ems is realized we needed someone to transform that new england army into an american army we needed an officer who was properly equipped to lead men john hancock was
not that mayor everyone knew it george washington was that man there in terms of being a defining it becomes a way for the director has issued what was the back of the declaration of independence was in essence a statement to the world that we are defining ourselves as a people as a nation and we're giving an explanation for that we all these trees be self evident that all men are created equal this was a statement of principle that americans were making to the world and also making to themselves something they can all rally around and then in the second part of the declaration of independence he'd give the
reasons after we had petitioned over and over again for redress of grievances those petitions were were not acted upon we listed a bill of indictment against the king up until that time we had grievances against parliament or against lee a the king's ministers they were the ones at fault giving the king bad advice we always relied upon the king of the colonies had this allegiance to the monarch but now with the declaration of independence it became the king who was the villain the king who had violated american rights and these rights were listed in this indictment one after another the king had violated all of these american rights and there was no opportunity no chance that these rights would be these grievances would be acted upon and that the rights restored to americans there for we have to declare their independence and there's
a question of why it was that thomas jefferson early on the declaration it included i can sleep with the ceo provision in the slave trade was taken aback by that the committee members but by congress itself out when congress debated the decoration of independence jefferson had included as a paragraph has won the indictments against the king that he exercised his veto over various corneas corneal legislation that would have stopped the foreign slave trade would have stopped slaves from being transported from africa to america now what happened jefferson said was that the king bowing to the interests of that the royal african society
which was a trading company and england and they didn't want to close off the african slave trade it was quite profitable and saluting vetoed one acts of legislation after another passed by colonial legislatures therefore that slave trade kept open and added slaves continued to come into america about what jefferson also said was to head to this grievance the british unsolicited help from the slaves to rise up to join the british forces or perhaps even more are their masters so here it was the british that in jefferson's estimation was responsible for the influx of slaves into cordell america and now it was the british that was there that were advocating that the slaves rise up against their masters the fact of the matter is jefferson totally ignored american responsibility for the slave trade he
acknowledged that the reason i was taken out was that delegates in congress from the deep south south carolina and georgia are felt embarrassed about this is the a delegate from new england states around and mistresses who were heavily involved in the slave trade transportation and so because of those two forces north and south that provision was withdrawn no land owner created equal in a human rights in indictments coming out they were slaves it had tremendous implications for americans white americans and yes yes the idea the language had a tremendous impact on what americans and afro
americans they listen to this dialogue going on this this rhetoric this had not just happen in the declaration of independence this had been a twenty five year debate going on about the nature of government and how best to protect independent and how best to protect rights jefferson said that there was nothing new in the declaration of independence the ideas or in the ear as the leaders of corneal society mete around their tables up typically those tables in the south where slaves were waiting on them and they discuss these natural rights slaves heard this they understood that they were men also they had these natural rights and so there was a dummy and hope welling up in them for their freedom there was also an
obvious inconsistency that white americans felt over this and so you get individuals that are slave owners that realize slavery is now so wrong in their estimation because they see it in relationship to their own freedom and so there's a much greater sympathy and empathy for slaves at that time than before or as will see later what was what is it
slaves did a number of different things when they had the ideas of the decoration became known to them one of the things they did was to run away ok and their freedom either by just blending in chile season and towns in the north where they could go and then they joined the british forces because the governor of virginia gave a proclamation border more welcoming slaves to abandon their masters enjoying of the british army and they were promised their freedom or they might well join the american army or the american navy there was always the danger to date they might revolt they didn't any large numbers of there was no insurrection at the time of the revolution but the fear was there
ok i'm going to say it's been unclear to a team to me is it is this the progression towards a lawyer with the british to call work really hard to see that right now i can remember in a graduate seminar that question was yes what gave rise to the american revolution and in my major professor marable johnson asked question and all of the fifteen or so grad students around the table were reluctant to answer because it's a such a complicated question to try to get on top of finally johnson called on one of the students he was a jesuit priest
and he became very nervous and educated thinking about this and i start sweating and finally his answer to the question what caused the american revolution was one damn thing after another and that's what happened here one thing after another we mentioned boston massacre but that was just one of many things that was the height of stupidity on the part of the british that they believed that the americans i am should be treated differently than they had been treated before the french anymore william blackstone came out with his commentaries on the common law and that was at seventeen sixty five and in that for line work it dealt with america on a couple of occasions on one occasion it said that the americans were now to be treated as a conquered people just as
ireland was being treated that at the time no longer were they on the same level no longer was it brothers it was now a new position of dominance its domination of the mother country over the colonies also in black storms come in laws i was the statement that parliament was no supreme parliament to do whatever it wanted in treating with colleagues so economies feel very vulnerable over this in the end the british did pass legislation that required taxation to help pay for the defense of the colonies the colonies had been used to a hundred or a hundred and fifty years worth of their own self government they taxed themselves than octane
this right over this hundred or two hundred fifty year period they were about to give up to this new interpretation of government parliamentary supremacy today i want to be in this is to somehow really a caricature for many of the post war america and seventies and disarray that we have very old age the disarray that was post for seventeen days that the new cd to consolidate power under question is
which kids immediately after the war prosperity was rampant throughout the colonies that pent up to me and for ford commerce opened up ports and merchants were very very successful but that only lasted for about two years and then the inevitable postwar depression occurred farmers had been encouraged in war to produce more they borrow money from private lenders that no banks the times and they increased their production they had to feed an american army a british army french army in the navy's during the revolution after the war however the army is disbanded the navy's left and here you have tremendous amounts of food being raised the farmers couldn't sell what they were raising the
british kept are commerce out of the west indies so he had farmers there had accumulated a lot of debt and they couldn't sell their produce they were in deep financial difficulty so much so they had their land was being seized and sold at public auction to pay for their debts and pay taxes the farmers asked what did we fight the american revolution for life liberty and property we can't pay our debts were being arrested army and is being taken away and were put into a debtors' prison if the sale of that property will not bring enough money to pay the debts and attacks as these farmers were in desperate straits you had violence occur all over
america it started in september seventy eighty six in exeter new hampshire we're a mob of angry farmers surrounded the state legislature into me and the elimination of get in the issuance of paper money the government should issue paper money and loan at the farmers that were tied them over they could use that money to pay their debts and pay their taxes that uprising was put down but similar acts of violence occur all over a mare in rutland in windsor vermont in charles county maryland in camden south carolina all over pennsylvania and back country virginia they burned the courthouse if you burn the courthouses you destroy the tax records no tax records you don't owe any taxes in massachusetts the largest of these uprisings occurred cheeses rebellion it wasn't in an attempt to overthrow the government it was an
attempt to close the courts so that they couldn't foreclose on the farmers property this was all recorded in the newspapers george washington saw this as you read his newspaper in virginia he said there are combustible city in every state ready to be ignited by a single spark what was happening in america the principles for which we offer revolution were in danger we didn't know what was going to happen to various radical planes were suggested by legislatures all over the country to me too to forestall the effects of this economic depression that it hit the issuance of paper money that i mentioned was the man did in new hampshire seven states issue paper money many of these cases the paper might appreciated in value reminiscent of the common currency that wasn't worth the promotional maybe a nickel on the dollar and around the farmers to
resort to violence they resort to the ballot box and they took over the government the farmer party the country party was called and they instituted a six month plan that was unbelievably radical that called for at least proposals of socialism and even communism in december december seventy eighty six a bill was introduced in the around legislature calling for the abolition of all deaths and the equal distribution of all property every thirteen years how could the rights of individuals be protected in a system like this where there was no outside control i'm selling in essence with james madison wanted to do was to establish an outside force
before the revolution the king in council had the right to veto any korea legislation under the articles of confederation the new constitution for the united states there was no outside source congress had almost no power over the states the states were dominant and that created a problem how could you control the state governments which were under the immediate control of the state assembly's which are usually elected anyway the idea that manson wanted was to establish a congress that had control over the states and he wanted to establish we want to give congress the right to veto every single act the state legislature would pass i that wasn't adopted by the constitutional convention on but there was a provision put in the constitution saying that the constitution all
trees and all laws yes under the constitution within the supreme law of the land in all the states have to abide by that supremacy of the federal government including in europe aren't just in terms of the role played in consolidating and in terms of it being about what the state can consolidate around us the case that the future will change ok you know it's the newly formed state so a lot of competing interests and being in poverty is one of the question so it can explain that and also contributes to a national tv on national college when
the war was going on the threat from anyone was so great that many of the disputes between the states i became less important less of an immediate important but after the war was and those old rivalries resurrect themselves new york vermont the vermont years claimed their independence and seventeen seventy seven and there was nothing the new yorker's to do to stop that movement for independence in vermont and congress would not help new yorkers in seventy three the massachusetts delegation in congress announced that it was revising after hundred and fifty years the massachusetts claim took all of western new york and so the new workers were shocked to see this connected settlers got laymen
brains from a connecticut company in pennsylvania actually warfare broke out in this escrow hannah ariely wyoming area of pennsylvania all of this is happening in the federal government can do virtually nothing the articles of confederation the constitution at the time did consider the connecticut pennsylvania district and ruled in favor of pennsylvania the connecticut settlers didn't abide by such a ruling and they created their own tell me their own government an actual civil war court but when massachusetts demand at western new york they couldn't arrive at a commission to settle this filing the two states agreed on a settlement and infect new york gave up a lane gave up all of western new york the property ownership
to massachusetts mistresses allowed new york to hold the jurisdictional rights to the euro controlled the territory itself but mistresses or billion are sold and so there are still these land disputes going on a boundary are being drawn and being settled among the various states this idea of land and property very important at the colony at the state level now after the war and at the individual level at the constitutional convention it's critical at two levels at the statewide level because the supreme court in article three is given jurisdiction over all disputes between states
so now there's going to be a judicial form that will be able to handle disputes between states and so before it with a government that was incapable of handling this the state had to handle it themselves if they couldn't they would resort to violence now there's going to be an institutional mechanism the handle these districts and not any more personal level that is going to be federal courts that will handle disputes between individuals are individuals of different states a dispute over property between citizens of america and an citizens of foreign nations so let's move on to the post the post war vision of the gains of the issues of working with north and south on slavery question and how slavery you have to do
when the cost issue commission became the first critical issue was representation how with the state's be represented this was a dispute between the large states and with rhythm at the time massachusetts pennsylvania and massachusetts and in virginia home after that dispute was settled madison said the division in the country now is north versus south is a dispute between two different systems one system of slavery based upon slavery and the other system based upon free labor and so richly every issue that was discussed in the constitution to mention had any impact and in effect from slavery so there is viewed these issues from their perspective in was always to protect the institution of
slavery northerners i realize this and try to get the best compromise that they could by giving him on certain issues dealing with slavery or appears as a word slavery or slavery is we're interested is because there's not much significance in the sense that the constitutional convention and the delegates to discuss whether they all knew what they were talking about and there was also a sense let's keep that word out of the constitution and that's a very significant keep it out because some people were very sensitive to this they felt it was not an appropriate thing to be in the constitution from a long term perspective i think that their attitude was slavery would eventually be
eliminated and it would be best if the word slavery was not in the constitution the declaration of independence didn't mention slavery either and that was the understanding of slavery was there the words were such that they could be interpreted to be much broader than the system that was in force at the time that's the attitude that people think the delegates in the constitutional convention hat that eventually the enlightened attitude that people had in the revolutionary era will eventually eliminate slavery and therefore let's not put that war in the constitution although we must live with a system for the finding tremendous amount of shame there was also consternation on the part of northerners could they get this constitution ratified with the acknowledgment of
slavery and not just the word but the dea amount of credence given to the institution of slavery in the end the by the constitution they were worried that they are that they might have great difficult he just as some delegates said if they don't get the slavery and the slave trade protected there would be danger that they couldn't get the constitution ratified in their states there wasn't okay there was a tremendous amount of shame over the idea of slavery being incorporated in the constitution washington's commitment to george washington announced his retirement from the army and from public service in june of seventeen eighty three
he said he was not going to serve in public life again he was quite aware of english history he knew that cromwell had taken charge of an army and when he had been a drama was successful in opposing the king cromwell became lord protector washington didn't want that so washington i made this announcement that he was resigning when he did resign in this letter that he wrote to the state legislatures he suggested to them that they had to do four things to make the country successful the first of those things was to preserve the union and strengthened congress so he believed that that was absolutely necessary with out that the union would not survive unfortunately the country did not take washington's advice and seventy three and throughout the seventies and in seventy eighty seven
we found ourselves in this difficult situation where washington was forced to come back out of retirement she didn't want to do to go to the constitution commission to create a stronger central government that washington and recommended five years earlier while all of you well i would say i would say that washington was the key figure in this whole period washington had become a larger than life figure when he resigned his commission in at the innocent eighty three he could have been a king everyone realized he could have been king he was the head of this powerful army he was the national figure they turned his back on power and retired and so in washington came back and agree to attend the constitutional convention there was great love admiration of
him but also a sense that but people trusted him he was a man who had power and walk away from the general feeling was people have power they abuse their power that wasn't the case with washington actually was a cop on the constitution nor is seeing the project that is something that's created hope they need to have anything directly on the lead and do the scientists in the early part of talk about how each region that's right but in the south there were several attitudes one was that we're moving toward emancipation it will eventually take place not take place today or tomorrow
or probably the next year but we're moving in that direction a home it would not be good for our individual state or region for the country and perhaps even it wouldn't be good for slaves if we had immediate emancipation so that was the general feeling gradual emancipation was absolutely necessary i know that was not no other way to successfully obtain emancipation and the constitution sets a framework for their leave emancipation to eventually happen you do get the rise however love the notion of the positive goodness of slavery at this time well in homs in south carolina argues that slavery is it immoral
humane system that said no actually it must be good for taking people out of the bed country and bring them into a good country where we teach them religion where we care for them the idea was that we had a system where they were interests of slave owners and laws on the books that protected slaves they were better off in this system of slavery they were cared for as children they were cared for when he was sick and they would care for when they got old they looked so those look at the system of indentured servitude in the north and they saw how inhumane that was whether it was white servants are black servants they felt it was much more intriguing than their system of slavery all this was a rationalization in their mind there
their system was acceptable to them there was the general attitude that oh this was as a system that tended to change what people change our children we felt that we could not allow the system to continue because our children's attitudes were affected they became mini tyrants they saw slaves being mistreated by their parents listen to the way children parents an end white children had the same kind of oppressive attitude toward their black playmates and they grew up with this attitude so slavery was was thought to be a corrupting influence but the constitution allowed us to move in that direction to a general emancipation in the north
there are different kinds of attitudes in the middle states there was the general feeling that emancipation would eventually take place in the northern in the state but typically in massachusetts there was tremendous opposition to the constitution because of the feeling that the asylum of massachusetts the only state that had declared the constitute an end by its constitution and judicial interpretation of that that slavery was unconstitutional this asylum for slaves they could run to massachusetts and they were free that no longer was protected by the constitution the fugitive slave clause of the constitution took away their asylum and therefore there was a real danger that slaves they have already escaped were subject to being arrested and brought back
into slavery and that actually happened in october seventeen at seven reports from quakers indicate this very thing happening in nantucket massachusetts kill us flavor for your four year old slave who had escaped from his mr jones welcome in newport around was accosted by john's welcome it's welcome said when this new constitution is ratified i will send federal authorities and they were a rescue and bring me back into slavery qaeda was faced with a dilemma what should you do should he waited there in massachusetts for the potential arrest him reincarnate consolation in slavery or should he escape to canada leave his family and his job and his friends behind eventually will k doe did was to agree with slocum
that he would go back into slavery for one year and then he would be free they enter into a contract deals friends kept that contract so that the slogan would have it but we're told by the quakers in that town tales friends that this was happening to many slaves who had escaped this was a very emotional thing for these people that as the slaves alone commission their feelings they had been in slavery they escaped and now they were forced to make this decision to go back into slavery if they wanted to maintain their freedom where they were and also for the friends of people who saw what happened to this man he had come to them as a runaway they measured him gave a lot a job she performed that job well and now he's faced with this
terrible terrible dilemma what you do and they were hopeless they could not give them any assistance it was a decision he had to make and they had to stand by him i'm out with with little opportunity to assist in one way or another and they saw cahill and many other free blacks back into slavery they saw that this new constitution was based upon blood and tears they were against it experts councils for years guys can you how innocent the salat is that jefferson's attitude towards slavery changes over time he's always opposed the slave or he always felt slavery was a moral evil at the end of the
revolution when he wrote his notes on virginia he sensed that emancipation was in the ear it wouldn't take long for abolition of slavery to occur and he was all in favor of that than seventeen eighty five only two short years after the war he realized that slavery was that it was not ending so it was up to the next generation he said to write this role compared it as a conflict between justice on the one hand and everest is greed impression on the other hand the next year a seventy eighty six before they were treated and he said it became how to dive to determine when emancipation would take place in at no seven he felt that it was now i see i'm unforeseeable time in the
future that slavery would perk then another seven years after the eighteen fourteen he was of the opinion that emancipation would not take place in a lifetime but that we should treat our slaves as my early as we could as well that's the exact was issued that petra headley took a law that says that we often take the easy you're out if you do is available if it's not it's difficult for us to fall through jefferson also had a problem in the sense that his idea of racism his feelings of racism increased as he
got older it was a battle a head between the moral injustice of slavery and yet he's dead but blacks were inferior and then you could not have a means a patient in his judgment with our conversation and he came to realize that their effort to colonize whole race of people from along the us was impossible and he could not allow me as a patient take place without i'm on the main conflict that he felt was inevitable between the white race in the black press he felt he was able to lead in fact without his leadership and the leadership of other men are like
you just cannot let go for me was the idea that we the vehicles themselves or just means okay but i can tell one reason and it was difficult to give up your slaves was because slavery was this institution this economic institution an economic freedom economic viability was an important thing in american society i if you gave up your slaves you've given your whole way of life can you effectively plays a role in government that you played for cord jefferson or a washington or a mess and continue to serve their country their state
if they didn't have slavery supporting them and what about their children what would their future be like with their future be as sound and financially secure they had no vision of what life would be like without slavery they had been raised we're slaves with that system that could not imagine any system that did not have slavery in slave society plantation society there to support them we use to say that when i was in it and in the end there is
well you you're brought up with slaves that are serving your children perhaps one of the best examples was james madison when madison was born she was dean hit the life of billy a slave is very same age and they are soul mates throughout their lives is that growing up as a little children that play with each other daily when medicine is elected to congress he goes there he brings billy with him says known seventeen eighty three he gets a letter from his father saying come on home you're mother's very seriously ill and medicine respect to his father and says i will be coming back immediately but first before i do i must get rid of billy
billy has gotten the sense of freedom he will not fit in well in virginia society as a slave even if i could bring him back to madison wrote to his father i would not because it's not going to bring him in to that society and so he reluctantly cells billy as an indentured servant could not so ms swank so here is i mean he grew up as a child with billy at a playmate and yet there was always a court that was there he couldn't bring himself to free billy this person who had been a lifelong friend of his not a slave but a friend he couldn't free him and he realized the inconsistency he wrote to his father we fought and died in bled for our freedom
i can't necessarily hold against billy he wants his freedom but i can't bring them back with me but he couldn't free him either he felt he had to get the value that billy was worth and so he sold daily as indentured servant so it raises a home taught me and populations to our lives was to raise raise raise as we mentioned earlier slavery existed in every state this is was the only state that outlawed slavery in the early seventies but in the north toward that many slaves once gradual emancipation started taking place once you started getting
free blacks racism started to increase at the same time that racism is increasing in the north you also have a heightening of the demand for abolitionists i'm not just in the north but also abolitionism i've advocated by northerners throughout the entire country and so you get these two strains are growing at the same time abolitionism and racism racism is flourishing for a number of reasons first of all there's no competition for the same jobs especially this is true when there's an economic depression and jobs are scarce no wonder do you have to complete to compete against your fellow whites you get compete also against the recently freed black box on there is the
sense there the black population is not trained is not able to sustain themselves therefore they're a burden on society we must pay taxes to support those individuals who are not able to support themselves and so this is another strain that's the air races and the fear that blacks will not be able to sustain themselves wealthy yet wrote to washington on that very issue and he suggested to george washington and seventy three that the two men by a plantation in free the slaves on their plantation so that they can wanted and show to the world that blacks claimed that sustain themselves lafayette said if you did this it would also serve as an example to other southern slave owners to do the same thing with their plantations washington never agreed
with lafayette to do this lafayette giddy institute this plan however in the french west indies and it proved to be very successful benjamin rush had the same idea and seventy nine he's in pennsylvania he donated over five thousand acres of land for the distribution to free blacks is a divorce universal and disability throughout the revolutionary era there was a great deal of rhetoric for the universe of that saudi of man in the natural rights of man there was a general feeling that all men were in fact equal in the eyes of god at least home and in fact in the eyes of each other there was so much feeling
half for this universality of maine that could be devastated by looking at one individual weapon mcintosh a slave owner in georgia who had advocated slavery for a long time but in seventeen seventy five he led in at the titian movement for the emancipation of slaves he said were struggling for our rights we must not hold on other people in public and yet in seventeen et cetera when mackintosh failed to be elected to the state ratifying convention that was considering the constitution he wrote to a friend who was elected to the convention and he told his friend that he would not ratified the constitution because there was a twenty year limit on the foreign slave trade in at no way congress would have the power to eliminate the foreign slave trade
what mcintyre said was he would ratify for only twenty years an inmate you know wait he would reconsider because he said we in the south need our slaves he had come off full hundred and eighty degree turn he had advocated emancipation and seventy and seventy five and seventeen eighty seven he opposed the constitution because it threatened the continuation of the foreign slave trade after eating away so now torrington mackintosh make that change the entire country made that change somewhere in the early seventies eighties most americans came to believe that's wavering was too important in our society racism was too prevalent that we could not live together peacefully in a society with white and black
and because colonization was impossible the only other recourse was to continue this system of slavery please rise in the chest the abolitionists the things the nation turned it will do with all this rhetoric for how the quality of man there was i think a real sense for emancipation throughout the revolution and in the years immediately after but two things were not present one northerners didn't push the movement northerners had a chance and as the economic problems in political social problems continue in the seventies they saw it was more important
to push for the continuance of the union and the adoption of the constitution that was more important than emancipation from the southern perspective what we really needed to obtain emancipation was the leadership of the key individuals but george washington's jefferson's the madison's these prominent southern leaders had to take a stand and they never did they never were willing to step out all americans were willing to put their lives on the line for their own freedom their own property rights but they were about to make the same self sacrifices of freedom of their slaves and eighteen fourteen m records very young man who was james madison president james madison's personal secretary he
inherited a plantation from his father with slaves slavery second course and he wrote to jefferson was now in retirement he said to jefferson that he was going to cause was going to free his slaves quinn to go to illinois jefferson advise against it calls said jefferson you must stand out and take the lead in our emancipation movement we must have the leaders of the revolutionary generation standup jefferson said no i won't do it calls begged him he said even if you won't take the lead in the political struggle at least write something you the author of the declaration of independence if you would write your testimony that slavery was inherently
corrupt and evil we will be able to use that later after your death to obtain emancipation jefferson backed away from that they would not write a testimony in favor of emancipation calls did not heed jefferson's advice to stay in virginia and continue the fight he left he took his nineteen slaves with him on a flat boat down the ohio river and landed in illinois coast evansville and as they landed he told his slaves that they left behind only virginia boss of slavery and he gave them certificates of emancipation and helped each of the adult males to obtain a hundred and sixty acre farm that calls was willing to do this but jefferson was not medicine was not washington was not
without that leadership it was impossible to get emancipation commons challenge to more challengers in what you have to do to the right that was certainly present with these men were uncertain about was what was the right direction although they saw slavery was wrong they couldn't bring themselves to the opinion that their actions against slavery would first of all be successful or second if it was if that was going to be good for their state good for the country good for the slaves themselves and whether that was rationalizing whether it was what they really felt we're not sure they just didn't feel
that they could take the step that was necessary that they each other wrong reasons the tether on economics about it but they each have their own personal point of view washington wrote a memoir and they didn't know what it was but he said that there was little he felt he could do for the adults in his slave population in his family to make life a little easier for them but he tried to prepare the younger generation of slaves for their ultimate independence he said that he hoped that died felt that this was the right thing for him to do he hopes that god smiled upon this action washington was the only one of the three that i mentioned who did in his will free his slaves
it's extraordinary that he he didn't he expressed on a number of occasions he is older rose of george washington had expressed on another on a number of occasions his own to test for slavery how he at one time even thought about staying in the north and yet he felt he couldn't bring himself to educate emancipation that was partly way was president in fact he kyo some of his advisors suggested such a thing and he felt it would be too divisive for the country the country had already moved in the seventeen nineties to the point where it was totally divided and he for their movement for abolitionists some might well have split the union because the cell was ob solidified in its advocacy of slavery the
south had shown in debates in congress in seventy ninety and seventy nine you won it was not going to give up the institution of slavery in the constitution by that time only a year after it was put into how into place it had become sacred in the eyes of americans but part of that sacredness as far as southerners was concerned was a protected the institution of slavery and so there was a growing attitude on the part of southerners that slavery was indispensable it was no longer just a necessary evil it was going to become a positive good yeah
right some people became americans almost runaway home of thomas paine for instance intimate and seventeen seventy four and was an american immediately he had shared his english ancestry his heritage very easily others such as robert morris who became superintendent finance came over as a young man from scotland he too became an american immediately but others who were born in the colonies had a much more difficult time to become american that might well mean a shipping on their allegiance to great britain or sharing their allegiance to their home connie and becoming an america each person went through a different set of events and help to determine when they became an american
tours washington for instance probably was not in american until sometime around the second time in congress when he was willing to step out and say yes i'm available to become a leader but there's some historians who believe that he was never really a bridge engineer he was always an english gentleman he had been rebuffed by the english army he was in the british army were to become an officer but they didn't want him he was according to in his judgment he was a british gentleman even though he was a corneal one of his closest friends was lord fairfax he grew up in the fairfax family these were british elite in washington looked at that but no it was rebuffed by the british army after the region anymore but this series of events that led to the american revolution made him become in america so that was his chain of
events how he stood out and engage in the kind of congress and said i'm willing to lead each of the americans had to make their decision john adams said one third of the american people quick to make that decision they were loyalists they were so closely tied to the crown into great britain that they'd never could shed their of their attachment after the french and indian war the british had a different attitude toward americans their attitude was first then the americans and largely because the french and indian war that blew up into a global world war and americans have to be controlled so that they wouldn't get the british in such a difficult position again therefore americans were now going to be
considered not heirs brothers not as equals not as having all the rights of englishmen which is what americans believe but they were going to be considered in the same fashion that the irish were considered in essence it conquered people they can be ruled anyway the british government were to rule that also at this time the new idea was that parliament was sovereign parliament could do whatever it wanted to do no longer was it restricted by and the common law the protections that were built and into the common law for individual rights cause really with these ideas in mind the british started an acting various means various measures that would among other things collect revenue to help govern the colonies other measure appears to make sure that the calm
is wouldn't get another war started but to flee with the indians and so the actions of the colonies were restricted taxation was there not just to control for newcomers in the british empire which was acceptable but tariffs and taxes were levied to collect revenue to help pay for the previous war to help pay for the administration of the colonies and the colonies could not abide by this i think they felt that they had achieved they are independents their local independence of sorts after struggling for a hundred and fifty years for the most part the american columnist believed that the british empire was in essence a system of federal government
or c americans were now going to be treated as the english treat the irish as a cultured people how they were going to have to pay for their own support and you're going to also be restricted in the relations they head with indians well washington's inability to freeing slaves say about human nature say about him as well and it says the heat he can play washington's inability to free his slaves tells us that he himself was not a hundred percent committed to emancipation he felt that slavery was a moral wrong but he didn't know what emancipation would do for the country he was reluctant to take the step that might
divide america and two he realized the important role that he played as an american he realized the contending forces in the country he saw it in his own cabinet he saw hamilton on the one side and jefferson on the other side was one of the reasons i think that it would be difficult to find concrete evidence that would indicate that washington was a racist in the sense that he believed that if slaves were freed they could sustain themselves he in fact had five farms in the plantation system of mount vernon and often blacks were overseers of those forms in effect on one occasion or five are the overseers
or what if washington felt that blacks were inferior include net get along on the role he would not have put them in charge of these different farms on the plantation jefferson and madison had absolutely a different attitude they definitely were races they definitely felt that blacks were inferior and could not sustain himself in a weak economy and they also felt that it would be morally wrong to intermingle the blood of blacks and whites this was reprehensible and their opinions therefore colonization was the only practical solution to emancipation could not have an inspiration with our conversation washington however
never advocated causation the proposal has more it was a commonplace the institution of slavery was critical for the development of colonial america it was an integral part of american society and the economy after independence all americans realized that it was an evil it was an evil that many americans wanted to eradicate as quickly as possible all believed but gradual emancipation was the only practical solution
over a period of time a very short period of time a large number of americans mostly all southerners came to believe mensa patient was not possible yes slavery was an evil it was a necessary evil that we have to wrestle with and it would take a long time to eliminate it was not something that they felt they wanted to wrestle with immediately and therefore instead of facing the issue as they face with great britain and standing up for rights of mankind they backed off they stood up for the protection of their own rights in seventeen seventy five and seventeen seventy six they won their liberty their independence and seventy three they realized at that point it was now time to pursue the struggle for emancipation for
Africans in America
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Raw Footage
Interview with John Kaminski, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin Madison
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WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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John Kaminski is interviewed about the Declaration of Independence , the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, post-war America in the 1780s, the world "slavery" in the Constitution
Race and Ethnicity
American history, African Americans, civil rights, slavery, abolition, Civil War
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Duration: 1:26:01
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Chicago: “Africans in America; 102; Revolution; Interview with John Kaminski, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin Madison ,” 1998-00-00, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 20, 2020,
MLA: “Africans in America; 102; Revolution; Interview with John Kaminski, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin Madison .” 1998-00-00. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 20, 2020. <>.
APA: Africans in America; 102; Revolution; Interview with John Kaminski, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin Madison . Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from