A Lesson in History – ‘4th of July’ and Slavery

Go Lean Commentary 

CU Blog - A Lesson in History - Slavery and the 4th of July - Photo 1Today is a special day in the United States, it is the 241st anniversary of their Declaration of Independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. This day will be celebrated all over the country with parades, picnics, music and fireworks.

The celebrations of this day is a BIG deal!

What is buried in this annual celebration is the stark and sharp contrast on the different sides in the conflict of July 4, 1776. There were the British loyalists on one hand and those seeking freedom from the British, the patriots, on the other hand; see the opposing sides here:

Title #1: What two sides emerged in response to the Declaration of Independence? What did each side favor?

The Patriots and Loyalists; Patriots favored independence and Loyalists favored staying as a British colony.

Tensions were simmering prior to the start of the Revolution, and the Declaration of Independence, signed in 1776 formally broadcasted to all that the United States was a new and independent nation. This led to two factions being formed: Patriots and Loyalists.

Patriots believed that the United States should be an independent nation separate from Britain. They felt that they were being treated unfairly as a colony and that their basic rights were being trampled upon. It was their view that the time for compromises was over and that the colonies needed to leave the British Empire.

Loyalists thought that the colonies were better off staying with England. Some did this out of loyalty for the king, but others feared instability and anarchy in the event of a change in government. In addition, many feared that the economic fallout with the mother country would destabilize the American economy.

All in all, these were the two groups that were formed, and as you know, the Patriots emerged as successful and formed a new nation.

Source: Retrieved July 4, 2017 from: https://socratic.org/questions/what-two-sides-emerged-in-response-to-the-declaration-of-independence-what-did-e

The patriots get to celebrate the 4th of July every year. But as there were 2 sides of this conflict, we sometimes forget the loyalists side of the conflict. They did not simply go away; they remained vocal and loyal to the Britain’s Crown.

The category of loyalists have a big bearing on the history of the Caribbean. Of the 30 member-states that caucus as the Caribbean, 18 of them have British heritage. Many of these were impacted by the American Declaration of Independence; many loyalists fled America and relocated to these British West Indies. Consider these notes:

When their cause was defeated, about 15% of the Loyalists (65,000–70,000 people) fled to other parts of the British Empire, to Britain itself, or to British North America (now Canada). …

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The wealthiest and most prominent Loyalist exiles went to Great Britain to rebuild their careers; many received pensions. Many Southern Loyalists, taking along their slaves, went to the West Indies and the Bahamas, particularly to the Abaco Islands. – Source: Wikipedia

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Great Britain also responded … formally. See details of the response here:

Title #2: The British Reply

When Great Britain first received the Declaration of Independence, the country was silent. To them, this was another annoyance from the colonies. The colonists had sent previous letters to King George III that had been ignored, but this was the first time that they had declared themselves free from Great Britain. You know how you feel when a little child continues to ask you for the same thing over and over again, and eventually, you stop listening? This was how King George III viewed the colonies. They were a nuisance, but relatively harmless. Or so he thought.

The government hired John Lind, an English politician and pamphleteer, to write a rebuttal to the declaration. He wrote Answer to the Declaration of the American Congress, a reply that tried to pick apart the Declaration of Independence. Lind focused on the issue of slavery, saying that the colonists were actually angry that King George III had offered freedom to the slaves. Lind even mocked the writers for stating, ‘All men are created equal…’, yet they allowed slavery. Of course, all of this was just a distraction. The colonists really paid no attention to the pamphlet.

Following this, King George III officially declared the colonies to be in a state of rebellion. By August of 1776, the King ordered troops to the colonies.

Once the Revolutionary War began, the citizens of Great Britain became more concerned about the colonies and their fight for independence. In October, King George III addressed Parliament, hoping to ease some of the concerns. He opened the address wishing that he could inform them that the troubles were at an end and that the people had ‘recovered from their delusion’ and ‘returned to their duty.’ However, the colonists continued to fight and even ‘openly renounced all allegiance to the Crown.’ King George III accused the colonists of treason, but reassured the Parliament that England was still united.

The King ended his address singing his own praises saying, ‘No people ever enjoyed more Happiness, or lived under a milder Government, then those now revolted Provinces.’ Everything that the colonies have—their land, sea, wealth, and strength—was because of him. His desire was to return the colonies as a part of the British Empire and end the war.

As we know, King George III’s desire to end the war and keep the colonies did not go as planned. The Revolutionary War, the war for American Independence, continued until 1783, ending with more than 50,000 deaths, and the colonies freed as a new country, the United States of America.

Source: Retrieved July 4, 2017 from: http://study.com/academy/lesson/british-reply-to-the-declaration-summary-analysis.html

As related, slavery was not the cause of the US War of Independence … entirely. But the notion that “all men are created equal” was a laughable American hypocrisy. The continuation of slavery in the wake of a trend of liberalism in England became a boiling point of contention. In fact as reported here, many African Americans – 12,000 or so – fled to the side of the British for the promise of freedom:

Title #3: Slavery and Black Loyalists

As a result of the looming crisis in 1775 the Royal Governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmoreissued a proclamation that promised freedom to servants and slaves who were able to bear arms and join his Loyalist Ethiopian Regiment. Many of the slaves in the South joined the Loyalists with intentions of gaining freedom and escaping the South. About 800 did so; some helped rout the Virginia militia at the Battle of Kemp’s Landing and fought in the Battle of Great Bridge on the Elizabeth River, wearing the motto “Liberty to Slaves”, but this time they were defeated. The remains of their regiment were then involved in the evacuation of Norfolk [(Virginia)], after which they served in the Chesapeake area. Eventually the camp that they had set up there suffered an outbreak of smallpox and other diseases. This took a heavy toll, putting many of them out of action for some time. There was a slave by the name of Boston King who joined the Loyalists and wound up catching smallpox. Boston King and other soldiers who were sick were relocated to a different part of the camp so that they did not contaminate the healthy soldiers. The survivors joined other British units and continued to serve throughout the war. Black colonials were often the first to come forward to volunteer and a total of 12,000 African Americans served with the British from 1775 to 1783. This factor had the effect of forcing the rebels to also offer freedom to those who would serve in the Continental Army; however, such promises were often reneged upon by both sides.[31]

African Americans who gained their freedom by fighting for the British became known as Black Loyalists. The British honored the pledge of freedom in New York City through the efforts of General Guy Carleton who recorded the names of African Americans who had supported the British in a document called the Book of Negroes which granted freedom to slaves who had escaped and assisted the British. About 4,000 Black Loyalists went to the British colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, where the British promised them land. They founded communities across the two provinces, many of which still exist today. Over 2,500 settled in Birchtown, Nova Scotia, instantly making it the largest free black community in North America. However, the inferior grants of land they were given and the prejudices of white Loyalists in nearby Shelburne who regularly harassed the settlement in events such as the Shelburne Riots in 1784, made life very difficult for the community.[32] In 1791 Britain’s Sierra Leone Company offered to transport dissatisfied black Loyalists to the British colony of Sierra Leone in Africa, with the promise of better land and more equality. About 1,200 left Nova Scotia for Sierra Leone, where they named the capital Freetown.[32] After 1787 they became Sierra Leone’s ruling elite. About 400 to 1,000 free blacks who joined the British side in the Revolution went to London and joined the free black community of about 10,000 there.

Source: Retrieved July 4, 2017 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyalist_(American_Revolution)#Slavery_and_Black_Loyalists

Wow, what a notion! An argument can be made that for the Black population – the majority ethnicity for 29 of the 30 Caribbean member-states – their celebration of the 4th of July should have been … for the other side!


This is the lesson in history for the Caribbean; American historic accomplishments are NOT historic accomplishments for the majority of Caribbean people. Poor race relations tarnished so much of American history, that the country continues with this societal defect … even to this day.

This lesson from America’s initiation is presented by the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free – which serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This book features a declaration of its own, a Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 10 – 13):

Preamble: When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to unite with others so as to connect them together to collaborate, confederate and champion the challenges that face them, we the people of Caribbean democracies find it necessary to accede and form a confederated Union, the Caribbean Union Trade Federation, with our geographic neighbors of common interest.

While the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle us to form a society and a brotherhood to foster manifestations of our hopes and aspirations and to forge solutions to the challenges that imperil us, decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that we declare the causes which imperil us and incite us to unite to assuage our common threats.

And while our rights to exercise good governance and promote a more perfect society are the natural assumptions among the powers of the earth, no one other than ourselves can be held accountable for our failure to succeed if we do not try to promote the opportunities that a democratic society fosters.

As the history of our region and the oppression, suppression and repression of its indigenous people is duly documented, there is no one alive who can be held accountable for the prior actions, and so we must put aside the shackles of systems of repression to instead formulate efficient and effective systems to steer our own destiny. …

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on this roadmap, on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

“Lessons in History” are a familiar theme for these Go Lean blog-commentaries; consider this sample of previous submissions:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=12274 A Lesson in History – Spanish Caribbean
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=11870 A Lesson in History – Indian Termination Policy
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10933 A Lesson in History – White is Right – Not!
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10733 150 Years of Historically Black Colleges & Universities
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=9151 The New Smithsonian African – American Museum
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8767 A Lesson in History – Haiti 1804
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7769 History’s Effect of the Current Caribbean Disposition
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7738 A Lesson in History – Legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5695 A Lesson in History – Repenting, Forgiving and Reconciling the Past
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4971 A Lesson in History – Royal Charters: Truth & Consequence
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=451 CariCom position on Slavery/Colonization Reparations

There are so many lessons that we, in the Caribbean, can learn from this history of the initiation of the United States; the role of slavery was integral to the whole fabric of American society. Repercussions and consequences of this societal defect reverberated from those events in July 1776 right down to our day. In many ways, these repercussions and consequences are responsible for our region’s poor performance in our economic, security and governing engines. Our society was created as parasites of the American- European (British) eco-system, rather than protégés  of these advanced economies.

It is time for this disposition to end! It is not 1776 anymore; we must make the societal progress that 241 years of lessons should have taught us. America has reformed and transformed … some, but still needs more progress. But our goal is not to reform and transform America; our target is the Caribbean … only. We hereby urge everyone in the region – people, institutions and governments – to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap.

We can do this, we can declare our interdependence and make our homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.

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