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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Revolution and New Nation (1751-1815) (x)
  • Tag > African-American Soldiers (x)

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Alexander Hamilton Endorses Arming Slaves for the Revolutionary Cause

In 1778, General George Washington was approached with an interesting proposal from Lt. Col. John Laurens of South Carolina. The war in the southern colonies was going badly, in part because of a shortage of troops. Laurens's solution was to raise a [...]

A South Carolina Planter Endorses Plans for a Black Regiment

South Carolina planter and merchant, Henry Laurens was one of the richest men in colonial America. He amassed a fortune through buying and selling African slaves. Before the American Revolution, over 40% of Africans who survived transport to the [...]

A Planter Proposes A Slave Regiment in the Continental Army

In this letter, John Laurens asks his father, South Carolina slaveowner Henry Laurens, to give him several slaves in lieu of his inheritance, so that he can arm them to fight in the Continental army.

Soldiers in Uniform

African Americans were faced with conflicting loyalties during the Revolutionary War, with some joining the British side in hopes of escaping from slavery, while many others remained loyal to the Patriot cause. While it's difficult to know the exact [...]

A Revolutionary Veteran Describes African-American Soldiers

A white veteran of the Revolutionary War, known only as "Dr. Harris," delivered this speech before the Congregational and Presbyterian Anti-Slavery Society in New Hampshire in 1842.