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Describe and analyze how African Americans responded to both the ideas and the actions that leading to the American Revolution - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Class 18 October 2012 By Law, Pen, and Force: The Responses of African Americans to the American Revolution Before, and even long after, the American Revolution, Africans in America were not seen or treated as Americans. In colonial America, they largely experienced inhumane treatment as slaves…
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Describe and analyze how African Americans responded to both the ideas and the actions that leading to the American Revolution
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Describe and analyze how African Americans responded to both the ideas and the actions that leading to the American Revolution

Download file to see previous pages... The principle of freedom attracted the blacks to the cause of the American Revolution (Kaplan and Kaplan 3). Since both Britain and America offered “freedom,” the blacks chose the parties that made the best and fastest proposals, not knowing that they would renege on their promises. The African Americans responded to the ideas and actions that led to the American Revolution by publishing literature works, joining the protests against the additional taxes on Americans, demanding freedom and equality, negotiating terms of freedom, bringing their cases to courts, and soon, supporting either the British as loyalists, or the Americans as patriots, during the American Revolution. Literature helped African Americans express their sentiments regarding slavery, although as slave/writers, they hid their messages under religious terms. Jupiter Hammon is considered as the first Black writer to publish in America (Reuben par. 1). His works appeared religious only, but they also dealt with the themes of race, slavery, and the isolation of slaves from the whites (Reuben par. 1). During this time, slaveholders had the responsibility of approving and editing the works of their slaves, and so Hammon’s careful use of words with double meaning underscores his ability to exploit literature as a means of expressing his indignation against social injustice because of racial discrimination (Reuben par. 1). In Hammon’s poem, “An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ, With Penitential Cries,” he stresses that only Jesus Christ can save humanity. His religious exhortations most probably pleased his master so well without recognizing that Hammon also demands the salvation of his enslaved race. After establishing that Jesus is salvation, he says: “Dear Jesus, we would fly to Thee,/And leave off every Sin” (3.1-3.2). In other words, he is saying that blacks can receive salvation or freedom through religion too. Hammon compares the captive spirits of Christians and slaves in discreet terms: “Salvation now comes from the Lord,/He being thy captive slave” (8.3-8.4). He believes that the Lord will grant salvation even unto slaves. When Hammon speaks of hunger for faith, he connotes the hunger for freedom too: “Ho! every one that hunger hath,/Or pineth after me,/Salvation be thy leading Staff,/To set the Sinner free” (16.1-16.4). He asserts that whites and blacks are all sinners and will equally be freed by God’s mercy. Before Hammon ends his poem, he underscores the equality of all, because Christ does not choose who to save among all His children: “Salvation high and low;/ And thus the Soul on Christ rely,/ To heaven surely go” (18.2-18.4). High and low means all races, and they will all go to the same paradise, if they cannot get this paradise in America. Another slave, Phillis Wheatley, takes literature as a means of expressing her thoughts on racism and freedom. In her poem, “An Elegiac Poem, on the Death of that Celebrated Divine, and Eminent Servant of Jesus Christ, the Late Reverend, and Pious George Whitefield,” she slowly shifts the pronouns used to transfer American citizenship to all, including slaves. At first, she says “When his AMERICANS were burden'd sore” (line 15). Later on, she states: “Great COUNTESS! we Americans revere/Thy name, and thus condole thy grief sincere” (45-46). By choosing the first plural person “we,” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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