Module 03: A Revolution for Whom?


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African Americans Women Poor Men Dissenters
and Non-Protestants

The documents below demonstrate some of the ways in which the American Revolution influenced the lives of African Americans, women, poor men, dissenters, and non-Protestants. The documents in the first section focus on individual African Americans, the status of African Americans in general, and the institution of slavery in the new United States. The second section focuses on white women and the extent to which the Revolution did or did not change their social and legal status. The documents in the last two sections explore how the Revolution affected the rights and social status of poor men in the United States and of men and women who did not belong to the dominant Protestant faiths.

A Revolution for African Americans?

1. Lord Dunmore's Proclamation
November 7, 1775

2. Memoirs of Boston King
The Methodist Magazine: March, April 1798

3. Alexander Hamilton Supports the Use of Black Soldiers
Letter to John Jay:
March 14, 1779

4. The Town of Sutton Responds to Massachusetts's Draft Constitution
May 18, 1778

5. Pennsylvania's Gradual Emancipation Action

6. Petition From Amelia County, Virginia
November 10, 1785

A Revolution for Women?

7. Cartoon: A Society of Patriotic Ladies
Edenton, North Carolina, 1775

8. Abigail Adams to John Adams
March 31, 1776

9. John Adams to John Sullivan
May 26, 1776

10. New Jersey Voting Act

11. Engraving: "Keep Within Compass"
c. 1790

12. Benjamin Rush on Women's Education
Address to Young Ladies Academy, Philadelphia, 1787

A Revolution for Poor Men?

13. Alexander Hamilton Links Property to Voting
The Farmer Refuted: 1775

14. John Adams to John Sullivan
May 26, 1776

15. The Town of Lenox Responds to Massachusetts' Draft Constitution

16. Equality and Property in New Jersey
July 30, 1776

17. A Pennsylvania Watchman
Pennsylvania Packet: June 10, 1776

18. Noah Webster on Educating Young Americans

A Revolution for Dissenters and Non-Protestants?

19. Massachusetts' Declaration of Rights

20. Citizens Respond to Massachusetts' Declaration of Rights
May 22, 1780

21. Petition of the Philadelphia Synagogue
December 23, 1783

22. South Carolina Constitution

23. Virginia's Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom

24. Massachusetts Debates the Federal Constitution
January 30, 1778