What impact did the Great Awakening and the freedom rhetoric of the Revolutionary era have on the thoughts and actions of blacks in America during the second half of the 18th century? How did slave-holding society react to blacks' desire for freedom during the era?
The Great Awakening and the Revolution were two fundamental events in creating a strong desire for liberty and freedom in America's slave population. As the wider American society was freed from the oppression of Britain and its religious beliefs and hierarchy, slaves sought the same freedoms and the same equality that now belonged to American citizens.
Thomas Jefferson was the first slaveholder to really notice how the revolutionary spirit had affected slaves and he sought to transport a number of slaves to a colony in Africa where an English abolitionist group had established a refuge. Negotiations, however, were unsuccessful and no further action was taken. Slaveholders may have noticed slave agitation but there would be no ban on slavery. In fact, the focus shifted to curtailing the Atlantic Slave Trade, with a ban on the importation of slaves introduced in 1807.