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Race Relations Between 1785 and 1817, Essay Example

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Essay

Document 8.5 “Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Marquis de Chastellux” (p. 251) aims to clarify notions that Europeans had about Native Americans. During this time period, these people were viewed as savages who were somehow different from the white colonists and European born visitors. Thomas Jefferson’s goal here to explain to the Marquis that Native Americans are equals “in body and mind”. Despite this forward view of America’s indigenous people, Jefferson has a lesser view of African Americans stating that although whites and blacks are not currently equals, blacks have the potential to rise up and become so. This document reflects the evolving acceptance that the colonists had of people from other races during this time period.

Document 8.6 “Merriwether Lewis, Journal Entry” (p. 252) is a journal entry that Merriwether Lewis made while on his famous expedition with Clark and Sacagawea. The introduction of the colonists into the American territory brought a great amount of stigma because they would trade their technology for many things that the Native Americans had. Among these trade items were firearms, which caused inequality among the native tribes; those who had access to firearms were able to live in the best land and remain protected, while those without firearms had to live in fear. Despite the conflict, increased trade between Native Americans and colonists was a major marker of race cooperation during this time period.

Document 8.7 “Confession of Solomon” (p. 253) demonstrates the African American and black dissatisfaction in the colonies. This is the confession of a man who was captured due to his involvement in “Gabriel’s Conspiracy”, an attempt at a massive slave rebellion. This shows that during this time period, blacks were treated as second class citizens and became fed up enough with their treatment to fight back. This was one of the first civil rights movements in the United States of its kind; this rebellion influenced many freedom fighters in the future.

Document 8.8 “Andrew Jackson, Runaway Slave Advertisement” (p. 254) further exemplifies the race relationship between the blacks and whites. Owning slaves was a normal thing, even among affluent men like Andrew Jackson. Even though he seemed to have treated his slaves well, he was not beyond corporal punishment as a threat to prevent his slaves from attempting escape.

Document 8.9 “Robert Surtcliff, Travels in Some Parts of North America” (p. 255) describes the state of slavery in the colonies. These journal entries explain some of the disastrous ways that slaves are treated; this ranges from slaves being executed without fair trials, children of slaves being sold as if they weren’t human, slaves being overworked, and slaves being attached to metal collars so they are unable to escape. Life for a black American was truly difficult during this time period.

Document 8.10 “Free Blacks in Philadelphia Oppose Colonization” (p. 256) states the opinions of the black slaves on colonization. Black slaves didn’t feel like a part of the colonist community and believed that to truly be free, they should be returned back to their native or ancestral lands. This demonstrates that even though some Americans wanted to take action and help the black slaves through colonization, they had been treated so poorly that they wanted nothing to do with this land.

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