[Marxism] Was the American Revolution a counter-revolution to protect slavery?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon May 19 08:18:25 MDT 2014

A few weeks after the Second Continental Congress authorized a 
Continental army, white Carolinians uncovered the insurrectionary slave 
plot they anticipated. The leader was not a slave but a free black man. 
Jeremiah, a fisherman and boat pilot who knew the shallow waters of 
Charleston’s harbor, hoped to be the agent of deliverance for thousands 
of slaves. Several months earlier, he had spread the word that “there is 
a great war coming soon” and that the British would “come to help the 
poor negroes.” After arresting him, white authorities charged Jeremiah 
with plotting an insurrection and intending to pilot the Royal Navy over 
the treacherous sandbar that blocked the entrance to Charleston’s 
harbor. On August 18, 1775, white authorities hanged Jeremiah and burned 
him at the stake, despite the efforts of  William Campbell, the newly 
arrived royal governor, to save his life. Believing that the evidence 
against Jeremiah was very thin, the governor wrote home that “my blood 
ran cold when I read what ground they had doomed a low creature to 
death.” His efforts to save Jeremiah “raised such a clamor amongst the 
people, as is incredible,” wrote Campbell, “and they openly and loudly 
declared, if I granted the man a pardon they would hang him at my door.” 
Executions and burnings at the stake were acts of terror to keep 
rebellion-minded slaves intimidated. But reducing Jeremiah to ashes or 
cropping the ears of slaves did not hold back the waves of slave unrest 
in the summer of 1775.

The wave crested in late fall when Virginia’s governor, Lord Dunmore, 
made official what everyone had known he intended for months. On 
November 7, 1775, aboard the William, anchored in Norfolk harbor, he 
drafted a royal proclamation declaring martial law and labeling as 
traitors to the king any colonist who refused “to resort to his 
Majesty’s standard.” The proclamation included the dreaded words: “I do 
hereby further declare all indented servants, Negroes, or others 
(appertaining to Rebels) free, that are able and willing to bear arms, 
they joining His Majesty’s Troops as soon as may be, for the more 
speedily reducing the Colony to a proper sense of their duty, to His 
Majesty’s crown and dignity.”


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