How did the American Revolution affect racial minority groups in the US?

1 Answer

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

At the time of the American Revolution, there were two major racial minorities in the United States.  These were African Americans, most of whom were enslaved, and the Native Americans who were mostly separate from colonial society.  Neither of these groups got any benefit from the Revolution.  In fact, the Native Americans were hurt by it to some degree.  African Americans as a group were not strongly affected.

Some African Americans were affected.  The British promised freedom to slaves who fought for them.  In addition, the same promise was made to some African Americans by the colonists.  The war helped some of these African Americans, who were set free either in the new United States or with the British in Nova Scotia.  However, some were still enslaved in spite of the promises made to them.  As a group, African Americans were not affected much by the Revolution.  The mass of African Americans were slaves before, during, and after the Revolution.

Native Americans were generally harmed by the Revolution.  The British had protected Native Americans to some degree from westward expansion by the colonists.  This was seen most clearly in the Proclamation of 1763.  For this and other reasons, most Native Americans who took sides in the war sided with the British.  When the Americans won the war, they got all the lands east of the Mississippi.  They soon pushed the Native Americans out of these lands.  Thus, the Native Americans suffered from the Revolution because it helped ensure that they would be driven off their ancestral lands.