The American Revolution undoubtedly gave rise to an unprecedented population of free black Americans; however, it also brought many negative consequences in terms of slavery. In fact, after the declaration of independence in 1776, the number of slaves in the country increased significantly to around 500,000, about 20% of the new nation’s residents. Various legal and social factors constitute this rebirth of slavery. Walker (2015) writes that “the whites have always been an unjust, jealous, unmercifu1, avaricious and blood-thirsty set of beings, always seeking after power and authority”. This is evident from several historical events. For instance, the master class in South Carolina and Georgia dominated these regions entirely after the patriot victory while White Americans in the North and Upper South did not take legal modifications to slavery seriously.
Similarly, the legal restrictions in 1792 also made it difficult for slaves to get independence, especially in Virginia. In the North, slaves experienced extreme racism protected by the Massachusetts law of 1786 that prohibited the legal marriage of whites and African Americans and other mixed races. Therefore, the Revolution failed to eradicate slavery. Instead, it created tension between two distinct sections of society and finally tore apart the nation in the 1850s and 1860s due to persistent discrimination against blacks in every aspect of life.
In the words of Frederick Douglass (1817-1895) who was born a slave in Maryland, “there are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia, which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of these same crimes will subject a white man to like punishment” (Douglass et al., 52). For me, this development brings disappointment and raise a concern about the long-going efforts of Black Americans who are still facing discriminated treatment in many states.
Douglass, F., William Lloyd Garrison, & Phillips, W. (1845). Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. Published By Anti-Slavery Office, No. 25 Cornhill.
Walker, D. (2015). Walker’s appeal, in four articles : together with a preamble, to the coloured citizens of the world, but in particular, and very expressly, to those of The United States of America, written in Boston, State of Massachusetts, September 28, 1829. Martino Publishing.