[Marxism] Books on the American Revolution

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jun 6 13:42:54 MDT 2008


Greg Dunkel wrote:
> Perhaps T. Jefferson "charms" the author of this review. 
> 
> He disgusts me.

But the review states:

If Jefferson's mind were not so full of contortions, it would be 
surprising that he accepted Kosciuszko's charge in the first place. His 
conception of emancipation had always contemplated a Virginia purged of 
black people. He spent the years from 1776 to 1779 on a committee to 
rewrite the laws that the state had inherited from its existence as a 
colony. Among its proposals, "A Bill concerning Slaves," prepared by 
Jefferson and introduced in the legislature in 1785, would gradually 
have rid Virginia of slaves by withholding "the protection of the laws" 
from any imported thereafter and from any who were emancipated but 
failed to leave the state within one year.

He left no loopholes: "If any white woman shall have a child by a negro 
or mulatto, she and her child shall depart the commonwealth within one 
year thereafter. If they fail to do so, the woman shall be out of the 
protection of the laws," and so would her child if he or she failed to 
depart after reaching adulthood in service to an assigned master. These 
provisions were too draconian for the other members of the legislature 
and were struck from the bill as enacted, which merely forbade 
importation of slaves and restricted the movements and rights of 
existing slaves.




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