Was the American Revolution about freedom or slavery?

In 1772, Lord Mansfield’s judgment in the Somersett’s Case emancipated a slave in England, and that helped launch the movement that would abolish slavery in the British Empire. If the thirteen American colonies had stayed in the Empire, there would have been no Civil War to end slavery, because slavery in the United States would have ended peacefully without a shot being fired.

Is it a coincidence that this fight for independence from the British Empire followed the beginning of the movement in England to end slavery in the British Empire?

Comparing the two timelines offers a compelling argument that the American Revolution wasn’t about freedom—it was about slavery disguised as a freedom movement.

On December 15, 1773—about one year after the Somersett Case in the UK—the Boston Tea Party signaled a movement for independence in America leading to the formation of the United States of America. Then in April 1775, the shot heard round the world was fired when the Minutemen met the redcoats at Lexington and Concord.

In fact, when the so-called fight for freedom ended in 1783—followed four-years later in 1787 with the signing of the U.S. Constitution—slavery was still an institution in the United States of America.

Meanwhile, the movement to end slavery was growing in the British Empire.

While slavery was unsupported by law in England and Scotland and no authority could be exercised on slaves entering English or Scottish soil, this did not yet apply to the rest of the British Empire.

However, by 1783, an anti-slavery movement to abolish the slave trade throughout the Empire had begun among the British public—the same year, the United States and Great Britain signed the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolution, and slavery would continue in the United States for more than eighty years and end only after the bloodiest war fought on American soil, the Civil War (1861 – 1865).  Even then, discrimination and racial violence would continue unabated and unchallenged in the United States for another century before the Civil Rights era of the 1960s

If you have doubts, then consider the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 or the Japanese-American Internment camps during World War II where close to 120,000 American citizens were sent to prison camps (for a comparison, only 11,000 Americans of German ancestry were locked up).

How can any country claim to be a democracy while it discriminated legally at any time in its history? I suspect the answer to that question depends on an individual’s definition of freedom.

When I Googled what America is best known for around the world, the answer in the first hit was interesting: “A freedom fighter, the protector of the weak, generosity.”

Slavery was officially abolished in most of the British Empire in August 1834, and this was accomplished without a war that cost more than 600,000 lives in the United States, a country billed as a freedom fighter and protector of the weak.

The cost of the Civil war did not end in 1865. “In dollars and cents, the U.S. government estimated Jan. 1863 that the war was costing $2.5 million daily. A final official estimate in 1879 totaled $6,190,000,000. The Confederacy spent perhaps $2,099,808,707. By 1906 another $3.3 billion already had been spent by the U.S. government on Northerners’ pensions and other veterans’ benefits for former Federal soldiers. Southern states and private philanthropy provided benefits to the Confederate veterans. The amount spent on benefits eventually well exceeded the war’s original cost. …

“The physical devastation, almost all of it in the South, was enormous: burned or plundered homes, pillaged countryside, untold losses in crops and farm animals, ruined buildings and bridges, devastated college campuses, and neglected roads all left the South in ruins. ” Source: Civil War Home.com

Today, after calculating inflation, the Civil War would cost $181,818,181,818.18 in 2012. That’s almost $200 billion. Source: Dave Manuel.com

I’ve always believed that actions speak louder than words. The United States may have righted many wrongs since 1783, but how many remain and how long will it take to fix them?

For example, one manufacturing sector in the United States is the largest merchant of death in the world and sells weapons to almost anyone. Forty-four percent of global arms sales come from the United States. Second place is Russia with 17% of sales. China only sells 4% beat out by France with 8%, and the UK with 5% of the market.

Another example is the fight to end human trafficking in the United States. “In Fiscal Year 2007, the United States Government spent approximately $23 million on domestic programs to fight human trafficking”—illegal slavery in the United States that is mostly women and children forced into the sex trade. Source: Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

Did slavery really end in the United States at the end of the Civil War or did it just go underground in another form? Meanwhile, the US government pays American farmers more than a billion dollars a year not to grow crops on their land, and spends about $15 billion annually on the drug war. More Americans are arrested for drug crimes than any other offense, and the US has more people in prison than any other country.

Isn’t it wonderful being a citizen of the greatest country on the planet, a military super power, and the champion of democracy?

Discover Children as Weapons of Death


Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

2 thoughts on “Was the American Revolution about freedom or slavery?

  1. America’s Other Revolution « SERENDIPITY

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.