American Revolution Essay

Submitted By rishinair21
Words: 1109
Pages: 5

Rishi Nair
Mr. Bourjaly and Ms. Zupancic
English 11 Honors and AP US History
5 November 2014
Land of the Free? The United States of America. The struggle to create the nation we live in today was a political, social, and military endeavor. However, even with losses and hardships, the US came out of the conflict a stronger, wiser and newly independent country, one could say, with a new identity. This “American Identity” was a composition of many sources, seemingly bringing together the best ideals of equality and liberty from around the world, to create a country with no oppression or discontent. But who did this country serve? While everything seemed fine and great with the new America, a large portion of the society remained in the shadows, their voice unheard, and their representation denied. So despite the strong emphasis on the ideals of equality and liberty placed on this country by the founding fathers, the newly forged “American Identity” left out a large portion of society in the form of the slave, the woman and the person from the lower classes. Through this, representation and a say in government was effectively restricted the landowners/white male aristocrats. The first and most glaring issue was slavery, the elephant in the room. The line in the Declaration of Independence stating “All men are created equal” really should have been “All white men are created equal”. Slaves in many parts of the newly formed US were denied even the most basic human rights, let alone a representation in government. They were treated like animals or chattel, and even the children of slaves were forced directly into slavery. This was despite the fact that many slaves played a role in the revolution, one notable example being James Armistead Lafayette. Armistead worked under General Lafayette of the French troops, acting as a spy who would eventually get pivotal information that was crucial in the Battle of Yorktown (Salo 1). Even with his important role, the painting Lafayette at Yorktown by Jean-Baptise Paon shows him in a servile light in the shadows, not the respect he deserved. Armistead Lafayette was granted freedom for his courageous acts, but he could not help his fellow slaves in similar situations. This sentiment was also voiced by freed slave Benjamin Banneker in correspondence with Thomas Jefferson. He petitioned for the rights of equality for slaves (Banneker), but was waved away by Jefferson with “I have taken the liberty of sending your almanac to Monsieur de Condorect”. Jefferson and some of the other founding fathers did show some respect/sympathy toward the cause of the slaves, which was seen in the form of the ban on international slave trade after 20 years and abolishment of slavery in the Northern States, but their hands were tied. They faced mutiny and discord from the Southern states if they attempted to do anything with the Southern slaves. Benjamin Franklin once said in his Poor Richards Almanac, “A man without a wife is but half a man” (N.p.). Keeping this maxim in mind, and considering the important role the women played in the revolution, would it not make sense to grant women at least some of the basic rights that the men had? Well it didn’t make sense to the founders, because women were denied these rights for a long time. Women played a key role in the Revolution, keeping the home fronts going when the men went off to war, as well as spearheading the boycott efforts. To know the scope of rights women were requesting, consider Abigail Adams’ correspondence with her husband John. Really all she requested were basic rights like being able to own land, and having some sort of laws against abuse (Adams 1). However, this was scoffed at by John Adams, showing the contempt the man of that time had for women. Another example for this contempt could be shown in the painting “The Oath of the Horatii”. Women are not the focal point of this painting, but they were shown in the background crying. After the end…