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American History 9/22/16

by: Max Skidelsky

American History 9/22/16 HIST 1310

Max Skidelsky

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These notes cover what was discussed in the lecture and could be used to supplant a potential paper.
Intro to American History
Class Notes
american, history
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Max Skidelsky on Saturday September 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 1310 at George Washington University taught by Silverman in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see Intro to American History in American History at George Washington University.

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Date Created: 09/24/16
9/22/16 All historical characterizes generate a self-sense of racial identities in relation to contact with new peoples. Among the first famous watersheds about race and religion was a preacher Goodwin, who advocated baptizing African slaves. Opponents to this argued that slavery was a biblical truth, and some feared baptizing slaves would enable them freedom. They also argued that it was pointless, comparing it to baptizing a dog, essentially arguing slaves were not human i.e. Christian Europeans. As a result, in 1667 Virginia passed a law to expressly prevent a slave from being freed via baptizing. Nevertheless, Goodwin argued that since some Africans could read and some Europeans couldn’t, it was not clear-cut. Goodwin did not, however, oppose slavery entirely. To be sure, Europeans had prejudices and negative ideas, but the system of racial hierarchies was not firmly established at the cusp of the slave trade. Rather, as the slave trade rapidly expanded, the need for a race based system grew, and incentivized Europeans to rationalize their actions accordingly. They created laws to support systematic racism during the colonial period which advanced the social system of race. By the early 1700s all colonies had engaged in wars against Native Americans and had slaves. By the mid-18 th century they all had laws that preferred and protected whites above Africans. Early European contact with Africans was primarily along North Africa, particularly Muslim moors who had sub-Sharan African slaves. Encounters such as these as early as the 1500s ingrained this concept that Africans were wild, brutish beasts who had biblically been slaves, and should again be slaves to Christian Europeans who believed in the ‘true faith.’ 1676 Virginia social class was dominated by race and slavery systemization (slavery was introduced first, then systematized by the late 17 th century). While all the colonies in North America varied by degree, the model for this type of police state began with Barbados, which established patrols and punishments to capture slaves. Colonial governments established the norms by prohibiting interracial marriage, mandating slave upkeep, and numerous other laws. Soon, the words Christian and white became as interchangeable and synonymous as black and slave. Slavery was inheritable, and could expand through bloodlines, as slave-owners wished to grow the slave population. However, this system did not apply to Native Americans, rather they had no extended privileges in this regard, resulting in a shrinking class of ‘half-bloods.’ This was beneficial because Native Americans had established a quick and powerful reputation for dying quickly and easily, unlike blacks, who would become preferable over both Native Americans and serfs. While all colonies at the time had slaves, not all were slave societies, in which local laws were built around slavery and sought to protect the instruction. This led to an increasingly rigorous and corporal system, which allowed for judicial punishment, legal terror, and fermented slave conspiracies. Particularly during wars with foreign nations, fears spread that slaves intended to run away and defect, earning their freedom with the French or Spanish. Even by 1750, only a handful of publications had condemned slavery, and they were all from slave-owning Quakers who were seen as, at best, dangerously eccentric. Virginia relegated Native Americans to reservations, conducted increasing attacks, imprisoning them, and retaining rough relations even with Christian Native Americans (called ‘Praying Indians’). Early American warfare targeted the Native Americans unlike European Christians, and when they were decimated, because there was so little demand for Native American slaves, there was no moral debate about how to justify slavery. In this sense, Native Americans’ race trumped religion, considering colonial authorities could not prevent colonists from fighting the Native Americans, otherwise they would risk civil war (such as did Virginia) or colonial encroachment (such as did Pennsylvania). When Europeans began diplomatic meetings with Native Americans, once the classification of race became known, the English were labeled white, and Native Americans red (the English still equated them as savages nonetheless). After much of the violence concerning Native American wars had ended, many white Englishmen still wanted Native Americans to convert. This was eventually deemed a hopeless endeavor, and in fact Native Americans were cited as the most important issue facing Americans in the Declaration of Independence. Identities were used to foster a system of race, generated by labels, to procure self-identities. This was done not in self-interest, but in the interest of a ruling group that had to both justify the morality of their actions with respect to slavery—which was inarguably the most immoral institution in the history of humanity—as well as increasingly define it as it became increasingly mainstreamed. If for nothing other than convenience, it became common found, even in New England colonies, to find slave laws developing, to clearly define who or what was a slave, the terms, conditions, advantages, benefits, and every other factor of life afforded to the slave and slave master. The ultimate result was a moral argument based on biblical text and an overwhelming consensus given the alternatives. This understanding notably also justified the defense of the slavery institution, as well as an offensive against Native Americans, and subsequent land grabs.


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