The American Revolution is defined as the political turbulence that took place towards the end of eighteenth century when thirteen colonies in America united to attain freedom from the British Empire. The union of the thirteen colonies is now known as the United States of America. According to Clifford , the American Revolution occurred because of a series of political, intellectual, and social transformations in the American government and society, which is known as the American Enlightenment. The American Revolution created a variety of opportunities for the American slaves to attain freedom. Slaves were provided with an opportunity to escape their thralldom by being recruited in army . It has been found that the American Revolution altered the institution of slavery to some extent, either by abolishing it or through the application of gradual liberation schemes). As a result of the Revolution, the slaves gained some freedom, but they did not attain better living conditions.
Slavery during the American Revolution
During the American Revolution, very many slaves were freed from their bondage by running away. An approximate of three thousand slaves escaped from their masters in 1781 when the British invaded Virginia. About five thousand and twenty thousand slaves in Georgia and South Carolina, respectively, were freed from bondage as a result of the American Revolution. The Revolution’s natural rights philosophy inspired the freed blacks to request the state legislatures to get rid of slavery and Congress to terminate the slave trade. Many of the freed slaves moved to the North because they believed that living conditions were better in the North than in the South. Unfortunately, they experienced many problems in the North, such as lack of jobs, insufficient food, and lack of housing, which forced many of them to go back to the south to work on the cotton plantations for wages. In the South, the freed slaves were assured of food and housing.
Therefore, the population of slaves started to grow again in the 1790s and spread into other lands that became the cotton belt. At round 1793, cotton cultivation expanded into large scale as a result of the invention of gin. The slaves in the southern states were used as laborers in spite of the American Revolution’s natural rights philosophy. According to Clifford (2005), the slave owners started to improve the lives of their slaves on the cotton plantations after a period of many years following the Revolution. The slave owners decided to better their slaves’ lives because of various reasons, such as need for manageable labor force, avoiding slave unrest, and to protect the livelihood of the slaves in the face of a decreased supply of import. It was until the nineteenth century when the slave owners started to become Christian patriarchs and openhearted. They stopped the inhuman treatment of their slaves because this treatment was considered as a stigma.
It is therefore evident that, the American Revolution affected the institution of slavery to some extent and failed to bring about an absolute change. Slavery continued to flourish during the American Revolution, especially in the southern states where they worked on cotton plantations. The institution of slavery would have been changed altogether if the American Revolution was effective. Actually, the institution of slavery changed as a result of some factors following many years after the Revolution. Clifford found some of these factors as: avoiding slave unrest, need for a manageable labor force, and protecting the income of the slaves because of a decreased supply of imports.