Jensen. While the former never wrote or lectured on issues of race in early America, Gary Nash seeks to emulate the progressive nature of Merrill Jensen’s research and writing.
The scope of Race and Revolution is the years just prior to the American Revolution through the decades following the signing and ratification of the U.S. Constitution. In the broadest sense, the book chronicles the evolving social, political and economic realities of the African-American experience during these years. Individual experiences are shared in an effort to show the differences between three distinct periods of time within the scope of the book. During the pre-Revolutionary War years, the rights and privileges of freed blacks are examined. Their equality in society and economic matters is highlighted. The pre-war years also seemed to hold a universal agreement by whites that it wasn’t a matter of if slavery would be abolished but when. Many held that slavery was incompatible with the ideals held by the founders of the republic. During the war, many African-Americans joined the British in their fight against the colonists. The British offered immediate emancipation to any slave that would join their ranks. Many slaves left their families and masters behind. These years of recovery saw a lessening of support for the abolition of slavery. Nash details the political and personal decisions that weakened the cause of the abolitionists and moved popular opinion towards a less optimistic view of black Americans, both free and enslaved. By the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, it was clear that African-Americans of all social classes and degrees of emancipation would not be granted full part in the new republic. They were to be insulted, degraded and relegated to second-class citizenship if free and continued servitude if enslaved. The final portion of the book examines the social evolution of institutions such as the establishment of