American Revolution, Abolition, Slavery, Freedom Suits, Slave Petitions, Slavery Metaphor


This paper focuses on how the American Revolution mobilized the enslaved and free black population in a way that constitutes a "Black American Revolution." In particular, the enslaved population engaged in multiple efforts for freedom, ranging from fighting in the Revolutionary War to writing petitions to state legislatures. First, I present how the "slavery metaphor" propagated by white Loyalists indicates the inherent differences in how the white and black populations experienced the Revolution. There is an overall discussion of the various methods the enslaved used in their attempts to gain freedom: military service, slave petitions, freedom suits, and escape. I also examine the surge of free black communities as a result of the Revolution, helped by white abolitionist allies. Additionally, the impact the Revolution had on slavery as an institution is assessed in both the North and South. Finally, the overall success of the Black American Revolution is determined.