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In Race and Revolution, Nash offers three essays on slavery during Revolutionary times. Instead of simply stating that slavery was horrible, then moving on to a different topic, Nash delves into the founding fathers’ dream of a democracy and the paradox of slavery. Every child in America is taught Thomas Jefferson’s phrase ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. As a child, I wondered how Jefferson can speak those words and still own slaves. During the revolutionary era, England and other European nations had colonies. However, these colonies, especially, America, did not see the similarity of a slave’s position and their position in relation to their ruling country. Americans cried for freedom, but enslaved men. The situation was hypocritical, but ignored due to economic and cultural reasons. Nash explores this and other slave issues during the revolutionary times in his book.
Another issue that Nash brings up in his book is the anti-slavery movement during this time. Economically, plantation owners would argue for slavery, but what about the rest of the Northern population? Plantation owners were not the majority during this time. The Abolitionist movement is mentioned in history prior to the Civil War, but Nash points out that the Abolitionist movement was around during Revolutionary times. The white Abolitionist movement was pushed into the background as the country moved toward separation from England, despite the black Abolitionists continuation of the fight against slavery. Nash argues that Northern States failed to push the issue, not the Southern States.
Previously, historians have put the total blame on the Southern States, but Nash holds the Northern States just as liable for the continuation of slavery. He argues that Northern leaders did not want to compensate Southern slave owners. They were also not willing to accept slaves into their societies. Even when free blacks begin appearing in the Northern
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