Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Petition of Slaves

Petition of Slaves to the Massachusetts Legislature On January 13, 1777 seven African-American men in Massachusetts came together to go to the courts and their goal was to gain freedom. These men were slaves and in order for them to be set free they had the choice of running away, with the possibility of getting caught, or gathering a petition to take to the Massachusetts court. Just because these men had a petition does not mean that it would be passed. The Massachusetts colonial government had no say in making slaves free or not.Back in the day slaves were seen as people that were not book smart because they lacked education and that meant they could not read or write but they knew their rights. The slaves were much underestimated but they turned to the Constitution to prove their rights. The African-American slaves knew their rights and they fought against the Massachusetts colonial government because under the Constitution their rights were taken away from them when they had ever y right to be free. Quok Walker was an African-American slave who was a part of the Massachusetts petition attempt in 1777.A couple of years later, in 1781, Walker sued the Massachusetts government because of a phrase that the Massachusetts Constitution contained. As the great Thomas Jefferson stated in 1776 in the Constitution, â€Å"All men are created equal. † Walker shared this phrase with the state of Massachusetts and because of Walker, he was one of the first people that helped Massachusetts. Massachusetts was the first state to abolish slavery. Every person in this country has rights and if those rights are ever denied then that person has the right to fight for their rights.Walker did not only fight for his rights but he fought for every slave in the state of Massachusetts. Walker then gave other states the strength and courage to do what he did and he helped them stand up for what they believed in. Walker was not the only one who stood up to the government. A woman by the name of Mumbet went against her slave owner in court. Whoever said slaves were not smart were very wrong. For people with no education they were very clever people. Elizabeth Freeman, also known as Mumbet, was also an African-American slave with Walker.She went to an attorney to try to fight for her freedom. The attorney helped her and the case was opened. She was fighting for her freedom and this case, Brom & Bett v. John Ashley, Esq. , is now one of the most important and famous cases in the state of Massachusetts. John Ashley fought and fought to try and win this case but eventually gave up and dropped out of the case. It eventually became obvious to John Ashley that under the constitution it was not legal to hold a person into slavery. It was all for the great Constitution that the United States of America has.Maybe slaves were not the best spellers because of the lack of education but they still got their point across. â€Å"†¦Naturel Right of all men—and th eir Children who wher Born in this Land of Liberty may not be heald as Slaves after they arrive at the age of twenty one years so may the Inhabitance of this Stats No longer chargeable†¦Ã¢â‚¬  (Boston, 1877). This is an excerpt from the petition that was written in 1877 for the Massachusetts Legislature. This is from the original petition but the current petition has been altered.They were very smart people who helped start the end of slavery. The petition of slaves was written in 1777. The Declaration of Independence was written in 1776. Only a year apart and they share a similar phrase, â€Å"Laws of Nature. † â€Å"From A popolous Pleasant and plentiful contry and in violation of Laws of Nature and off Nations and in defiance of all the tender feelings of humanity Brough hear Either to Be sold Like Beast of Burthen & Like them Condemnd to Slavery for Life—†¦Ã¢â‚¬  (Boston, 1877). This is an excerpt from the petition of Massachusetts. When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the  Laws of Nature  and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. † This is an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence. They both share the same insights in what they see as equality and freedom.A line that stood out in the Declaration of Independence that relates to the Petition is, â€Å"†¦Right of the People to alter or to abolish it†¦Ã¢â‚¬  This part of the Declaration is talking about the government and how they have power but it is up to the people to truly decide if they feel that certain laws are equal for everyone. It is under the constitution that people have rights even if the government is above them. The Petition seemed to be very successful. Quok Walker and Elizabeth Freeman are the two people who started the movement to end slavery.After the petition and the court hearing, slaves were now free in the state of Massachusetts. It was said that slavery was not completely gone but did end at the end of the eighteenth century. Freeman became a paid servant and a book was later written about her. It is great that some people were not afraid to stand up for their rights and fight for what they believe in. These slaves from the eighteenth century started a movement that then passed on to other states. They gave the idea to other slaves to also stand up for themselves. To be a slave was not legal under the constitution.Slavery first ended in Massachusetts but it took many more years to be abolished in this country. All it took was two people to stand up and it led to a movement that will now be forever known. Outline I. Introduction A. Petition of Slaves B. African Americans fight for their rights C. Thesis:  The African American slaves knew their rights and they fought against the Massachusetts colonial government because their rights were taken away from them when they had every right to be free. II. Elizabeth Freeman III. Petition requests A. Explanation of the petition requests B. Men gather togetherC. Slaves argue against the Massachusetts government IV. Start to the end of slavery A. Primary justification for freedom B. Independence for African- Americans C. Quok Walker V. Declaration of Independence VI. Conclusion A. Restatement of thesis B. Petition success C. Freedom is gained Works Cited Archives. com. The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription. The Charters of Freedom. Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 5th Series, III (Boston, 1877), pp. 436–37. Masshist. org. African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts. Web. 17 Oct. 2012.

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