Dirty Little Secret- page 3 | History | Smithsonian
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Dirty Little Secret

To see the Revolutionary war through the eyes of slaves is to better understand why so many of them fought for the crown

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Mansfield had set Somerset free, but had taken pains not to make a general ruling on the legality of slavery in England. However, the “Negro frolicks” in London celebrating the court decision had swept legal niceties aside. Across the Atlantic word spread, and spread quickly, that slavery had been outlawed in Britain. In 1774 a pamphlet written under the name “Freeman,” published in Philadelphia, told American slaves that they could have liberty merely by “setting foot on that happy Territory where slavery is forbidden to perch.” Before the Patriots knew it, the birds had already begun to fly the coop.


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