Slave Nation

ISBN: 9781402206979

By: Alfred BlumrosenRuth Blumrosen

Published: 11/01/2006

A chilling history of the profound role that slavery played in the founding of the republic.

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“A radical, well-informed, and highly original reinterpretation of the place of slavery in the American War of Independence.”—David Brion Davis, Yale University In 1772, the High Court in London brought about the conditions that would end slavery in England by freeing a black slave from Virginia named Somerset. This decision began a key facet of independence. Slave Nation is a fascinating account of the role slavery played in the drawing of the United States Constitution and in shaping the United States. At the Constitutional Convention, the South feared that the Northern states would leave the Convention over the issue of slavery. In a compromise, the Southern states agreed to slavery’s prohibition north of the Ohio River, resulting in the Northwest Ordinance. This early national division would continue to escalate, eventually only reaching resolution through the Civil War.

About the Author

Ruth G Blumrosen

Alfred W. Blumrosen is the Thomas A. Cowan Professor of Law at Rutgers University in New Jersey, specializing in labor and employment law, and has a long history in enforcement of civil rights.

The late Ruth Gerber Blumrosen was an adjunct professor of law at Rutgers Law School and also worked in civil rights compliance.


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments -
Introduction by Eleanor Holmes Norton -

Chapter 1. Somerset’s Journey Sparks the American Revolution
Chapter 2. The Tinderbox -
Chapter 3. Virginia Responds to the Somerset Decision -
Chapter 4. The Virginia Resolution Unites the Colonies and Leads to the First Continental Congress in 1775 -
Chapter 5. John Adams Supports the South on Slavery -
Chapter 6. Colonies Claim Independence from Parliament -
Chapter 7. The Immortal Ambiguity: “All Men Are Created Equal”
Chapter 8. The Articles of Confederation Reject Somerset and Protect Slavery -
Chapter 9. The Lure of the West: Slavery Protected in the Territories -
Chapter 10. Deadlock over Slavery in the Constitutional Convention -
Chapter 11. A Slave-Free Northwest Territory -
Chapter 12. Cementing the Bargain: Ratification by Virginia and the First Congress -
Chapter 13. How Then Should We View the Founding Fathers? -
In Memoriam: “Requiem” by Barbara Chase-Riboud -
Bibliography -
Notes -
Index -


Chapter 1
Somerset’s Journey Sparks the American Revolution
On June 22, 1772, nearly a century before the slaves were freed in America, a British judge, with a single decision, brought about t...

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Slave Nation is not your typical history of the American Revolution. Rather than revel in the glorious outburst of liberty that is so often stressed to schoolchildren, civil righ...

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Format: Paperback

Length: 9 in
Width: 6 in
Weight: 16.56 oz
Page Count: 304 pages


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