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Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence invokes the ideals of democracy and freedom. Yet he remains a slaveholder for his entire adult life, and (unlike George Washington) does not free his slaves in his will. Jefferson’s own struggles, moral and political, to reconcile his position as a slaveholder and a democratic idealist earned him admiration on the one hand and a deep distrust on the other. Recent DNA evidence has shown it likely that Jefferson fathered at least one child by his slave Sally Hemings. In...
By early 1863, the Civil War had begun to cause severe hardship on the southern home front. Not only was most of the fighting taking place in the South, but also as the Union blockade grew more effective and the South's railroad system deteriorated, shortages grew increasingly common. In Richmond, food riots erupted in April 1863. A war department clerk wrote: "I have lost twenty pounds, and my wife and children are emaciated."The Confederacy also suffered rampant inflation. Fearful of undermining support for the war effort,...
When George Washington was a teenager, he wanted to make a good impression on his elders. Good manners were important to him. He made sure that he knew how Rules of Civility from a French rulebook into his own handwriting. Rules of Civility was a list of 110 rules for people to follow. These rules dealt with different situations, such as how to be respectful to people, how to be polite when dining with others, and how to behave. Here are ten of the rules:Every Action done in Company...
The Stamp Act, the Quartering Act, the Declaratory Act, the Sugar Act, and the Tea Act were just a few of the many policies Great Britain enacted in the British North American colonies in the eighteenth century. To many colonists these policies were oppressive and unjust since the colonists had no direct representation in Parliament. The British government felt that the colonists were protected by the British army and navy, and there was stability under a constitutional monarchy, which was more than other, longer-...
General Assembly determines “Negro women’s children to serve according to the condition of the mother.”1667
General Assembly passes “An act declaring the baptisme of slaves doth not exempt them from bondage.”1669
Virginia passes an act regarding the casual killing of slaves: “If any slave resist his master (or other by his master’s order correcting him) and by the extremity of the correction should chance to die, that his death shall not be accompted felony.”1670
I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.
Abigail Adams to John Adams, March 31, 1776Reading 2
Democracy in Early America: Servitude and the Treatment of Native Americans and Africans prior to 1740
The nations that explored and colonized North and South America during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries used a variety of approaches for subjugating Native...