Analysis Of American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal Of Colonial Virginia

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American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia, is the story of Virginia and its role in our country’s legacy of freedom and slavery. Virginia was home to men like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington; both fierce components of liberty. Virginia also held the country’s largest percentage of slaves.. In his book, Edmund Morgan explores the “central paradox of American history;” how could a population be so devoted to liberty and synchronously uphold a system of slavery? How could the colonists espouse “inalienable rights”, equality, and basic human dignity, but deny those very things to a significant portion of the population? Edmund Morgan, in his preface, asserts “How republican freedom came to be supported…, by its opposite, slavery, is the subject of this book.”
The book starts with a historic look at the beginnings of the state of Virginia. Morgan asserts that the state’s history is the best source for understanding the relationship between freedom and slavery. In the mid 16th century, fear of tyrannical Spanish rule and sympathy for those enslaved by the Spanish empire inspired action from the English; they could bring freedom (take them under English rule) to those oppressed by the Spanish and take a stand against Spanish imperialism. At its
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The demands, limitations, and repercussions for broken rules put on servants were too severe. The liberty the servants received after being freed from their contracts was inadequate. In 1676, war broke out as tensions amongst settlers bubbled over. The ire the commoners had for the elite combined with the hatred and fear of the Indians set the stage for Bacon’s rebellion. “… there was an obvious lesson in the rebellion. Resentment of an alien race might be more powerful than resentment of an upper

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