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  • Historical Eras > Revolution and New Nation (1751-1815) (x)

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Anti-Federalists Oppose Slavery Provisions in Constitution

Slavery was one of the most divisive issues in the debates over whether or not to ratify the Constitution. Although the constitution banned the importation of slaves beginning in 1808, it did not restrict the continued use and ownership of slaves, [...]

Slaveowners Fear the Haitian Revolution Has Arrived in Charleston

In the American South, slaves were typically dispersed among large populations of armed and vigilant whites. As a result, there were few large-scale, armed slave rebellions there. This was not the case in the West Indies, where plantation owners [...]

A Massachusetts Yeoman Opposes the "Aristocratickal" Constitution

The ratification of the United States Constitution was the subject of intense discussion, debate, and dissent during the period 1787-1789. This letter gives a sense of the opposition of many Anti-Federalists to what they perceived as the [...]

Massachusetts Anti-Federalists Take a Skeptical View of Federal Power

The ratification of the United States Constitution was the subject of intense discussion, debate, and dissent during the period 1787-1789. Democracy was yet a largely untried experiment, and those who pondered what form the new constitution should [...]

A Son of Liberty Lists His Objections to the New Constitution

After delegates to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia finished their work and adopted the U.S. Constitution in September, 1787, it remained for the states to ratify it. Vigorous debates took place in all of the thirteen states. This [...]

"An American Woman" Lends her Support to the Revolutionary War

Esther Reed launched the creation of the Ladies' Association of Philadelphia with the publication of a broadside "Sentiments of an American Woman." Keenly aware of the limited scope of earlier women's efforts and referring to women as "brave [...]

Common Sense (Excerpt)

In these excerpts from the famous pamphlet Common Sense, Thomas Paine makes the case for independence from Britain. The alleged benefits of British rule, Paine asserts, are actually liabilities; he cites unfair trade policies and American [...]

The True Interest of America Impartially Stated

In this pamphlet, published in response to pro-independence broadsides like Thomas Paine's Common Sense, Anglican clergyman and Loyalist Charles Inglis endeavors to "impartially state" the reasons he considers the maintenance of ties to Great [...]

The Oneida Indians Address Governor Turnbull

In this address to Jonathan Trumbull, the Governor of the Colony of Connecticut who sided with the Revolutionary cause, the chief of the Oneida Indians declares his tribe's intention to remain neutral in the impending conflict. The Oneidas express [...]

A Revolutionary War Veteran Speaks Against Slavery

In this stirring speech delivered to the Congregational and Presbyterian Anti-Slavery Society in New Hampshire in 1842, a Revolutionary war veteran known only as "Dr. Harris" recalls the valor of a regiment African-American soldiers who fought in [...]

Item Type: Speech