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Chapter Week 5

American Studies 2200E Chapter Week 5: American Studies Week 5 Readings

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American Studies
American Studies 2200E
Anna Zuschlag

American Studies 2200E Week 5 Readings Thomas Jefferson, “A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America in General Congress Assembled.” - All men created equal - Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed - Right of the people to alter or abolish destructive government and institute new government - King of England, forbidden the passing of laws, a tyrant - Dissolved representative houses, stopped people from being elected - Obstructed the administration of justice - Has sent armies to America in times of peace - Complaining about English oppression - Ask the colonies to be free and independent states that are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown - All political connection between England and colonies should be dissolved - As free and independent states they should have the power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do Edmund Morgan, excerpts from American Slavery, American Freedom Dreams of Liberation - In the “Land of Liberty” two fifths of people already enslaved - All men created equal, life liberty and the pursuit of happiness - When he wrote this he had over 200 slaves - Hypocrisy of slaveholders devoting themselves to freedom - The men who founded the nation all had slaves or were willing to join hands with those who did - Non felt comfortable with the fact, but they also did not feel responsible - The rise of liberty and equality in America accompanied by the rise of slavery (The Central Paradox of American History) - American reliance on slave labor must be viewed in the context of the American struggle for a separate and equal state among the nations of the earth - Needed tobacco to purchase assistance from other countries, needed slaves for tobacco - Americans bought their independence with slave labor Toward Slavery - Slavery often prevailed where land is abundant - Virginia drifting toward slavery from the time when they first found something profitable to work at (Tobacco) - Did not have to enslave anyone, only buy people who were already enslaved - Converted to slavery by buying slaves instead of servants - Slave labor not as advantageous as indentured labor during the first half of the century - High mortality rates meant no advantage of owning a man for life, especially since a slave cost twice as much - Possible that the conversion from servants to slavery was helped by a decline in the number of servants coming to the colony - Also the decline of heavy mortality (Higher life expectancy = better to own slaves) - More women and children in the colony, means less productive force, need for slaves - Disadvantage to slavery = slaves had no incentive to work (Had to be punished by masters to get them to work) Toward Racism - Had to separate d
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