Colonial Contradiction

1240 Words5 Pages
The development of slavery and self-government in the Americas from the colonial to the revolutionary period presents two main contradictions which are important not in setting the stage for the American Revolution but also help to establish division between the colonies after the Revolution leading into the Civil War. While one contradiction applies exclusively to the Northern colonies, the other applies to all the colonies and is a key factor leading up to the American Revolution. For the New England colonies, the contradiction between the development of slavery and self-government lies behind the reason these colonies were developed. Around 1608, the Separatists, beginning to receive more hostility from the Anglican Church and government…show more content…
While colonial slavery didn’t start in the North, their acceptance of it (even if only until the Civil War) along with also using slaves, clashes directly with their fundamental reason for fleeing England: freedom to live as they wish (in this case its religiously). It won’t be until later when England’s salutary neglect ends that the Northern (and Southern) colonies see a new contradiction arise which arguably unites them with the Southern colonies. Unlike the Northern colonies, the Southern colonies did not develop out of people seeking a safe haven from persecution, but rather as a direct result of the Age of Expansion and Conquest (c. 1450-1650) which was essentially the geographical, political and commercial expansion that occurred as European nations attempted to discover a new trade route to the Orient.…show more content…
We see the contradictions arise for the South beginning in 1764 with the passage of the Sugar Act and the effective end of England’s salutary neglect on its colonies. By this time, the colonies had already established their own forms of government which were run by ‘the people’ (as evidenced by the Mayflower Compact and House of Burgesses) and had grown content governing themselves with little to no interference from mother England. So, when she did try to finally exert authority over the colonies it was met with resistance. In resisting England’s attempts to regain control over its colonies, the colonies found that if they worked together, they could stand up to England and even win, as evidenced by the non-importation movement in 1764 and parliaments revision of the Grenville Acts as a response to the colonists united boycott. This unity would continue all the way through to the American Revolution.8 The colonies reactions to England’s attempts to exert control over its colonies show the glaring contradiction between the development of slavery and self-government in the Americas for not just the Southern colonies but all of them. The colonies were okay with
Open Document