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Did the American Revolution change things for slaves?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The American Revolution maintained the status quo for slaves. This was intentional. In a new country trying desperately to find common ground, slavery was not an issue the south was going to budge on. There were definitely people who wanted to end slavery. They just didn't want it enough to risk their new country.

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Slavery was already dying in the northern states by the time of the Revolution, not so much out of abolitionist sentiment but because slavery was not as economically necessary or viable in a northern economy that was diversifying.  As slavery was abolished in the northern region, it did create a section of the country where slaves could "escape" to, even though that did not make them truly free, equal or safe.

Some slaves were promised their freedom in exchange for fighting in the Revolution on either the Loyalist or the Revolutionary side.  This promise was seldom honored, however, and for most slaves, life went on much as it had before.

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I would agree with the above...

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epollock | Student
Nothing changed for slaves as far as the Revolution went. The Revolution was more a political struggle as opposed to a social equality fight. Many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence owned slaves, so it was quite ironic that they used the words "man" and equality" so often; it just didn't apply to blacks.
krishna-agrawala | Student

There were no major effect of American Revolution on the condition of slaves or slavery. As a matter of fact invention of cotton gin 1n 1793 led to large scale expansion of cotton cultivation, and with that use of slavery in southern states.

However, theoretically many leaders during American Revolution, including people like prominent leaders from south like George Washington, opposed slavery to varying degree. They argued that slavery had no place in a nation that had been formed to protect natural human rights. But the profit motive had far greater influence than did any moral arguments against slavery. All that we can say is that the American Revolution did create some pressure against slavery, but it had no immediate effect on conditions of slavery in the USA.