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Black Americans in the Revolutionary Era Essay

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Updated: May 14th, 2018


The American Revolution is typically depicted as a major step in the realization of liberty and freedom for all. When the lives of African-Americans who lived during the time of this important event are considered, however, our view becomes quite complicated. Liberty came about as the American colonists pursued freedom and independence from rule of the English.

The black Americans were not left behind and thus they adopted the attributes of the revolution with undeterred zeal in a bid to win their freedom.

The main objective of revolution was to achieve a society that enjoyed freedom from the oppressive rule and also to enhance equality in the American society. This paper discusses the intricacies of the revolution era and looks into the motivating effect that the revolution had on black Americans.

As it has been mentioned above, the revolution that was characteristic of the revolutionary era was engineered by American patriots, most of whom had black American slaves (DeCond.45). The determination that these patriots fought for their freedom from the rule of the English people had to have a long-lasting impact on the black Americans.

This is because the black Americans were the ones facing the most problems prior to this period and thus complaints by the patriots made them realize that they had been oppressed for far too long. They therefore pursued the ethos of the era which were basically attaining freedom and achieving equality in the American society.

This response by the black Americans towards the things that were happening at the time made them fight relentlessly for their freedom and rights which, in turn, has shaped the history of America and enabled America to be the society it is today.

How the enslaved African-Americans sought freedom during the Revolutionary era

In as much as the colonists were determined to make a difference in the American society, being involved in the war was not easy for them. A good number of them maintained a neutral position during the revolution era (Woody 76).

Two major changes that occurred in America during the stated revolutionary period are establishment of the Afro-American community in America and the provision of the institutions that would help them live free lives. Afro-Americans were also accepted as part and parcel of the American society (Smith 109). The stated facts have been upheld for decades and consequently, the contemporary American society, undoubtedly, exhibits them.

The Black Americans were contrarily interested in their freedom and thus they were ready to trade anything for their freedom. Consequently, they gave support to the armies that were likely to give them freedom from captivity .They realized the importance of supporting the army other than fighting them after fighting in vain for freedom.

This was after the long period of time they had been captives. Through their union with the British army, they were in a position to be defended from slavery hence freed from captivity. Freedom was possible as the British army had the notion that the black Americans had now surrendered to join their camp.

Another way through which the African- Americans could seek freedom was by being servants for a short period of time thereafter being set free. The service included working for the Britain without remuneration but in the end set free after the term.

At other times they could only get freedom dues which included basic commodities like food, clothing and homes or land.

The worst was when other slaves were meant to serve a lifetime even leading to passage of the slavery down the family tree such that slaves could be inherited and their siblings continue being slaves.

The African-Americans use of the rhetoric of the Revolution to persuade white revolutionaries to oppose slavery

The issue of Racism greatly influenced slavery during the American Revolutionary period. This issue was therefore eliminated through the use of the rhetoric of the revolution by the African- Americans (Shortell 78). By this the black slaves were considered inferior but not to be put into slavery. Rhetoric meant the use of suggestive signs other than one on one conversation to indirectly voice out their issues.

The rhetoric of the revolution also emphasized on the fact that the Black Americans were supposed to be pitied and sympathized with. It is also through the use of the rhetoric that the slaves were able to achieve the freedom from being denied the chance to access certain social and public amenities (Woody 132). They were now able to get education, medical facilities, and job opportunities within the country as well democratic rights in their country.

A good example of the rhetoric of the revolution was the use of fighting words. These words were aimed at passing their message or claim to the leaders of the country. The words also played a great part in uniting the people of the nation including the slaves. The slaves also used newspapers to publish their opinions as well as express their grievances. The antislavery campaign through newspapers proved successful as it paved way to peaceful discussions which ended slavery.

The advantages and disadvantages of the American Revolution

Despite the fact that the African- Americans suffered a great deal during this period, there were some benefits that came as a result of the American Revolution.

The major benefit of the American Revolution was the freedom and liberty it brought to the Africans. The African- Americans during slavery were able to work together in unison so as to concur the British army (Smith 109). This taught them how to be self-protective.

They were also privileged to learn several positive things from their colonialists which would help them develop their own nation after slavery. However, a keen look at the occurrence of events during the revolutionary period depicts that the British attained more privileges as compared to the African- Americans.

On the other hand this revolution came with its own disadvantages which include high taxation rates imposed so that the government could generate enough money to pay the large number of army it had acquired.

It also led to the decline in the economic development of their country hence making them dependant on aid. This was the case as they were not able to produce for their own country and instead worked for their colonists (Shortell 90).


From the above discussion, it can be concluded that the American Revolutionary era was an important phase of the global history. Its occurrence taught many lessons to the people of the world.

Indeed, it brought about many changes as mentioned above which were rather of great importance. However, the greatest of all was the freedom of the African- Americans that lastly came after a great tug of war (DeConde 67). This freedom is what is enjoyed up to this time whereby the Blacks are now independent in their own country.

This was the end of slavery and oppression. The aforementioned benefits of the American Revolutionary also support the fact that it was necessary for it to occur. The mentioned demerits are also important if looked at on the other side of the coin. It was thus a good lesson for both races since equality was in the long run achieved.

Works Cited

DeConde, Alexander. Ethnicity, Race, and American Foreign Policy: A History. Boston, 1992

Shortell, Timothy. Social Science History – Volume 28, Number 1, Spring 2004, pp. 75-120

Smith, Tony. Foreign Attachments: The Power of Ethnic Groups in the Making of American Foreign Policy. Cambridge, Mass., 2000, pp 109

Woody, Holton. Black Americans in the Revolutionary Era. California. Barnes Noble, 2009. Print.

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