What was the impact of the Revolutionary War on African Americans, women, and Native Americans?
The Revolutionary War, for the most part, did not improve the lot of women, African Americans, or Native Americans. While about 9,000 African Americans (both free and enslaved) fought in the Patriot army, hoping to win their freedom, they were sorely disappointed after the war. The Constitution did not grant them the right to vote, and the slave trade was only disallowed for 20 years following the ratification of the Constitution. In addition, the Constitution enforced the fugitive slave law, requiring escaped slaves to be returned to their owners.
Despite Abigail Adams's famous plea in a letter to her husband, John Adams, to "remember the ladies" in the laws he was helping to draft in 1776, women did not get the right to vote until 1920, far after the Revolution. In the early Republic, the idea of "republican motherhood," that women had an important role in raising the children that would lead the new nation, took hold and led to the creation of some women's schools. However, the Revolution did little to help women.
Native Americans were generally hurt by the Revolution, as the British had been preventing American settlement past the Proclamation Line of 1763 that ran along the Appalachians to protect Native American lands. After the Revolution, however, white settlers began streaming across this line, displacing Native Americans. In addition, Native Americans were not allowed the right to vote and were not counted for purposes of representation; instead, they were considered the citizens of separate nations in the Constitution.