Revolt in revolution: preventing and promoting slave revolt in revolutionary South Carolina



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“Revolt in Revolution: Preventing and Promoting Slave Revolt in Revolutionary South Carolina” discusses the uses of African American slaves during the Revolutionary War by both American and British combatants, especially focused on the promised reward of freedom for slaves joining either side of the conflict. The main argument of the paper is that: “Both white combatants sought to maintain control of African American slaves… and continually forced them into subservient military roles, despite the eventual promise of freedom, ultimately circumscribed by the victors.” The paper further claims that American promises for emancipation for supportive slaves was only as a reaction to British promises and that the conflict, following the Dunmore and Philipsburg Proclamations (British proclamations insuring post war emancipation for supportive slaves) was deeper than simply maintaining military slave allies in South Carolina. Instead, the conflict became a battle over which white party would define post-war freedom, assuming that slaves were incapable of truly understanding what liberty would mean. Primary sources relied upon include personal correspondence from American plantation owners and members of the Patriot military, statements from British military personnel, legal proceedings and wartime proclamations (including the British Dunmore and Philipsburg Proclamations and reactionary decrees made by American governmental bodies), and newspaper articles, among other documents from the period.



American revolution, Slave revolt, African Americans, South Carolina, Henry Laurens