Race and Revolution

Published 16 Feb 2017

Table of content


Gary Nash is an author of many different books. He is currently a professor in the University of California, Los Angeles teaching under the History Department. In 1990’s he had published one of his best written works. This manuscript had created significant change in the thoughts of Americans during the years of successive until the independence. Number of Americans shifted from the idea that African Americans considerably deserve better conflicting to the general belief that their current status was the reality which they had to face. Given the situation of the African Americans, they should learn to view as it as a privilege or just endure the norms of the society. Garry Nash offers his readers a broad assessment of the part of African Americans in the uprising and post-revolutionary era. (UCLA, 2008)

Synopsis of the Contents:

The main argument raised by the author is—Founding Fathers had the power to eliminated slavery while in the revolutionary era. His book “Race and Revolution” tackles facts that concerns the generation of revolution that desired to amend the obvious inappropriateness of African American Slavery and their dominant pacification did not only left the establishment essential but given it with the defense of a significantly sustaining government after 1788.

Gary Nash illustrated the organizational work made by evangelical men and women which paved way in publicizing the slavery that the African Americans experienced. The availability of education of the African-Americans paved the way for them to reflect the mistreatment of the American society to them. Through this, international networks concerning anti-slavery were created. In this book, the author took up the issue of the anti-slavery crusade while answering the main points of slaveholders on the moral and sensible manner evident through his writing and speaking.

The author of the book illustrated the cultural and monetary factors tied to the pronouncement of the new American nation which in his perspective, the country have lost its aims. In the book, is the further description of the response made by the Free Black Community towards the revolution’s promise, the forceful and rational petitions for justice and the accomplishments made by the community towards the structuring of its own African-American societies in the hostile atmosphere in America in the 19th century.

Gary Nash stresses that the earlier petition made against slavery and the comprehensive cases opposing slavery had been disseminated within the members of the Second Continental Congress. The author congratulated the members on their prohibition of slave trade during war time. In addition, he asked that the members to attend to the issue of injustice and more specifically, the issue of slavery. He argued that merging the inconsistency in managing hundreds of thousands of African Americans in slavery—who also have an equal right to liberty just like other normal citizens, while still preserving the struggle for ourselves and our children’s freedom. This is an obligation for the entire eradication of slavery.

“Slavery would remain a national problem, not a southern problem, but northerners, with few exceptions, acknowledged no responsibility for solving the problem. In such a nation, disunion or civil war was expected. Jefferson, by the end, understands it. If something is not done, and done soon, we shall be the murderers of our own children.”(Nash, 1990)


“Race and Revolution” written by Gary Nash highlighted the African Americans which took the leadership and the Revolution spirit as well as belief of republicanism at heart. The written work of Nash is focusing to the United States as a symbolism of liberty and equality. They are ready to give their allegiance however; they view that the nation truly lacks that symbolism.

The book continuously stresses on the topic that African identity is only influenced by the idea that many Negros born in Africa grew old in the United States during the period of 18th and 19th century. Majority of the slaves imported to the United States mostly came from Africa during 1760 to 1810.

The author provided evidences to substantiate the number of African Americans which sees them selves are Africans living in America throughout the first ten years of the 19th century. After the constitution finally put a stop to the African slave trading in the year 1808, Negros offered a mass and celebrated in their cities.

African Union Society located in Newport, Rhode Island is also included in the book. The Union was founded during the 1780. Other groups were established such as the Free African Society (1787), Boston’s African Masonic Lounge (a month after), the African Free School (established in fall) the African Church if St. Thomas, the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church located in Philadelphia, and lastly the African Society established in Boston.
In the year 1794, the association of Newport aided the African Americans in Philadelphia to start another organization named African Human Society. During the first decade of the 19th century, Negro establishments such as school, churches, mutual and social aid societies and the intellectual links incorporated the name “African” for identification. One example is an establishment “New York City’s African Grove.”

The Author stated that for the blacks that saw themselves as “America’s African people” the idea of migration was always appealing. Before the Massachusetts Negro lobbied for their transportation in going to Africa, Negros located within the Newport African Union Society, together with their Minister Samuel Hopkins, lectured about the possibility of attaining a clean title to land located in Africa where in they could start a Christian settlement.
Prior to the Revolution, detractors of slave trading, abolitionists, and ministers similar to Hopkins that has evangelical aspirations for Africa had though about the relocation of the African Americans. Several Quakers have also continued to express their personal interests in their African settlement proposals. However, the purpose and the management of the planned camp were too vague. A talk was even organized where in people of interest believed that building a trading station would be very helpful. For numerous people, this plan was to close the idea of the British slave trade harbors in Africa. The shipment of convict ships at a port right next to the migrant vessel appeared to supply support for news paper articles which mostly state that convicts were being incorporated in the planned colony.

Nash accentuated that African Americans and their white associates have taken advantage of the pressure of war and the allotment of the constitution-making required by the political uprising to demolish the concept of in the 1777 constitution. During 1780s’ the Government of Pennsylvania have established as law obliging the slow liberation of slaves by the time they reach their adulthood. Throughout the immediate repercussion of the war, Rhode Island and Connecticut have also absorbed the slow liberation of law in the year 1784. In New England, the issue of slavery was not abolished by lawmakers, thus it was abolished by slaves that continued to file law suits in the court for their liberty. Between the year 1781 up until 1783 Massachusetts courts have put a stop to slavery with in the state through the succession of decisions in response to the law suits which had been conveyed by the slaves whom have requested for their liberty from the 1780 constitution of the state. The slaves were eventually declared as free men/women. Another state in the United States followed the example of its neighboring states—New Hampshire. During the spring time of 1784, the courts of the states of New Jersey and New York amid the northern states had unsuccessful eliminated slavery or to gradually adopt the liberation law. The state d of New York and New Jersey has a big population of slaves. It was only after an extended movement against slavery made by the white and black abolitionists did these states halfhearted acted. It was not until 1799 did the state of New York adopted the legislature of the emancipation law. New Jersey on the other hand has taken much longer to adopt the emancipation law (1804). New Jersey had this law slowly adopted that there were still seventy-five (75) were still present in Monmouth Country in 1850.

Nash discussed that the radical generation was made an important mark due to its disappointment to take changing substantive accomplishments against its slavery advocacy. The evidence for the interpretation of this issue is forceful and convincing. The vast majority of American Slaves were not straightforwardly affected by the eradication of slavery in the northern part as the issue of slavery is much powerful in the south. In the northern part of the United States abolition is so slow that slave owners were allowed to trade their chattel if they have decided to. Furthermore, the liberation laws normally did not free the adult slaves however, they have promised to liberate the children of these slaves when they are in the proper age. Considerably, the makers of the Constitution were reluctant to take an important act against slavery for they are afraid of demolish the organization before it even started. Views such as these do not take big actions against the subject of slavery in which the Revolution formed because of the issue. After the revolt, slavery became a regional institution that has divided the “new” United States.

All through out the clash, there were thousands of northern slaves have won their desired freedom. Their insistence have motivated and lured the southern equivalents. Most considerably, the revolt have forced southern citizens, may they be black and white, to have attempted to reconcile the issue of slavery and free will. Even though slavery has surpassed the rebellion in the Southern part of the United States, it later on changed into a much more self-protective body. Slavery would be eliminated or become and irrational emblem of regional distinctiveness as a consequence brought by the Revolution which results to being identified with a particular mark. Without that mark it would not be identified.


The book Race and Revolution presented that the revolt—which were started by the slaves and abolitionists is versatile and frustrating at the same time. The revolt reveals that the greater part of the white American population were reluctant or incompetent to distinguish the importance of their independence. By the year 1776, the Continental Congress have declared words which came from a slaveholder, “All men are formed as equal and endowed by the creator with certain inalienable tights and among these are life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” (Nash, 1990). Such declaration was totally opposing the idea of slavery. Although many white Americans have declined to distinguish such an idea, the slaves were persuasive and took track on the issue. In the northern part of the United States, slaves already have won their desired freedom through their actions and pressure that have placed on the legislators regarding the slave system. Yet still, in the southern part slaves really strived to abolish the slave system but they did not succeed in their goals.
I truly believe that this book is very enlightening and it was written in a very uncomplicated words which makes it more understandable for person who reads this to comprehend and grasp the author’s idea. The spirit of the book “Race and Revolution” rests a pledge of liberty. The radical generation was unsuccessful to maintain that pledge. Thus, they delayed the day of reckoned and criticized the United States and hundreds and thousands of slaves to an additional four generations of prejudice and agony.


  • Nash, G. (1990). Race and Revolution (Madison: Madison House Publishers Inc).
  • UCLA. (2008) Gary Nash. College of Letters and Science.
  • Random House Inc. (2008). Authors: Gary Nash. randomhouse.com
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