Black Puritan, Black Republican: The Life and Thought of Lemuel Haynes, 1753-1833

By John Saillant | Go to book overview

2
Republicanism Black and White

The Atlantic world engendered the first black abolitionism. The movement's figures, most of whom had lived as slaves or servants but wrote as free men or free women, sought to comprehend slavery in providential history from ancient times to the era of the American Revolution. Black slaves were situated in providential history, it seemed; they were trapped under Old Testament laws that had persisted in Europe, West Africa, the West Indies, and mainland North America but were ordained to be free as white Christians better aligned their feelings and their practices with the New Testament.

Some of the black abolitionists became British loyalists in the era of the American Revolution, since they believed that the power of Parliament and the authority of the Crown were likely to be leveled against the slave trade and slavery. The resolution of the Somerset case in 1772; Lord Dunmore's offer of freedom to Virginia slaves who fled their masters and sided with the British forces in 1775; Sir Henry Clinton's proclamation of freedom for slaves who left their patriot masters in 1779; the exodus to Freetown, Sierra Leone, of the black loyalists and their families in 1792; and discussion in Parliament of the abolition of the slave trade in the 1790s led men like Olaudah Equiano and Quobna Ottobah Cugoano to see Great Britain as the best hope for the abolition of the slave trade and slavery. Lemuel Haynes, one-time minuteman, never wavered in his patriotism. Republicanism formed his intellectual and moral context, and he articulated more clearly than anyone of his generation, black or white, the abolitionist implications of republican thought. Both strands of black abolitionism, the British and the American, prophesied something of the way slavery would ultimately be attacked in the nineteenth century. All the black abolitionists understood in the last two decades of the eighteenth century that only central governing bodies, superordinating over the many states, provinces, regions, and islands where slaves were held, would

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Black Puritan, Black Republican: The Life and Thought of Lemuel Haynes, 1753-1833
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents *
  • Chronology of Lemuel Haynes's Life xi
  • Black Puritan, Black Republican *
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - A Further Liberty in 1776 9
  • 2 - Republicanism Black and White 47
  • 3 - The Divine Providence of Slavery and Freedom 83
  • 4 - Making and Breaking the Revolutionary Covenant 117
  • 5 - American Genesis, American Captivity 152
  • Notes 189
  • Index 229
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