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

By John Saillant | Go to book overview

4
Making and Breaking the
Revolutionary Covenant

Beginning in the late 1790s, Lemuel Haynes's grappling with ideological conflict differed from his endeavors of the Revolutionary years and the first decade of his ministry. In the 1770s and 1780s, republicanism and Calvinism, as Haynes understood them, challenged slave traders and slaveholders, whom he saw as violating first principles of social and religious thought. Oppression was wrong by both republican and Calvinist standards. The completion of the Revolution in the abolition of the slave trade and of slavery was like the fulfillment of a covenant—its terms inherent in its initial compact and, as always in covenantal thought, ready to be met by human effort in the service of God.

From the 1790s, however, a new challenge appeared as American politics divided into Federalist and Democratic-Republican factions. It seemed that enemies were arising within American ranks—not compatriots who could have been reminded of first principles and covenanted responsibilities, but contemporaries who held principles outside the covenant. Jeffersonian politics and social thought were not as self-evidently sinful as trade and property in slaves, but Haynes opposed Jefferson because he and his followers undermined the black man's benevolentist and integrationist arguments against the slave trade and slavery. As political factions became hostile camps, Haynes remained a traditionalist in insisting on the value for African Americans of the benevolent, virtuous, united society idealized in the eighteenth-century republican and Edwardsean traditions. In line with Revolutionary republicanism, Haynes saw slaveholders' power preying on blacks' liberty. But as northern slavery was dismantled, power exercised apart from slavery began to press upon blacks—something Haynes had no political vocabulary to describe. As liberal politics and social thought waxed in the post-Revolutionary decades,

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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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