THE AMERICAN SLAVE

It was, of course, the colonialists who introduced slavery to the American continent and it was then they who set the trend for its eventual worldwide abolition.

In 1776, following the revolution, the new nation state of the United States of America came into being on the premise of freedom and liberty for every American.

That did not include those who were indentured and bonded as slaves.

There is a common misconception that after the Declaration of Independence, there were only slaves in the southern American states who were used primarily on the cotton farm plantations.

Census records have shown and proven that there were slaves in the northern states as well but due to climate and commerce, not as many as in the south.

Whether they were free slaves remains a matter of discussion and debate.

The emancipation of slaves in America would be a gradual process right up to the end of the American Civil War in 1865 and the enactment of a ratification law known as the Thirteenth Amendment.

Slavery, ultimately, became the focal issue of the American Civil War in which perhaps a million Americans, both black and white, died for the cause.

The American slave had been denied combat during the revolution.

Except for isolated incidents and in spite of the sufferance of being enslaved,, there is no evidence to suggest that the American slave would or could have threatened an insurrection or rebellion against the Union State before, during or after it came into being.

Until more recent times perhaps.

Nevertheless, the potential of the threat supposedly played a part in moving the capital city northwards in 1800 from Philadelphia to Washington.

The American slave would, however, finally be permitted to enlist in the Union Army by the sixteenth serving President, Abraham Lincoln, and to fight against those who chose to go against industrial progress with their stubborn Luddite-like thinking and enslave humanity, whatever the colour of their skin..

Somewhat curiously, a presidential decree soon followed, declaring freedom for the American slave who was still enslaved in the territories controlled by the Confederation and not by the Union.

It is curious in the context that it may never have reached the ears of those to whom it was intended until the latter stages of the civil war.

Colonialists had left behind a legacy which their descendents could not just let go.

The perceived white master was afraid of what would happen if the American slave was given equality and status.

That relationship between the white master and the American slave was never more epitomised than in a novel written by an American schoolteacher entitled ‘Uncle Toms Cabin’

Many years after the end of the civil war, the American Slave, though free from chains, shackles, bond and indenture, would suffer further indignity in the pursuit of happiness promised to him by the American Constitution of 1776.

That came with the Jim Crow Laws and absolute segregation in society applied in schools, public places and on transportation.

It has to be understood that those laws were only applied in the cotton states of the deep south and not across the whole United States.

It would take many decades more and in effect be a century of years (1865 to 1965) before he who was once a slave by the colour of his skin could claim to be truly American as of right and not merely rewarded for services rendered.

The undeniable reality is that the American slave is no more than a true patriot of his country in the twenty first century which is reflected in all forms of public life.

It is the ultimate colonialist legacy, without which, the United States of America would not be the country it is today in the pursuit of happiness and the prestige of civil liberty.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s