Tuesday, March 4, 2008

history detail

Even though History classes haven’t taken a huge role in my college education so far, and despite the test I have this weekend, I am loving my American Government and Society class.  In all the readings I have done, I found a patch of our history that actually made me laugh out loud - in a very cynical kind of way.  The rhetoric of the Revolution is filled with imagery of slavery.  They slavery they are referring to is, of course, not the slavery that’s working in the kitchen, but the slavery imposed by Great Britain.  A few things illustrate the painful irony of this environment:  Thomas Jefferson had over 100 slaves when he wrote about our inalienable rights.  17 of George Washington’s slaves fled to fight for the British.  In 1780, there was a law in Virginia that awarded veterans 300 acres of land and (that’s right) a slave.  After they fought for liberty, the government rewarded them by promoting legal slavery.  This particular detail of American history is not without a sense of irony.  

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