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A freedman or freedwoman is a formerly enslaved person who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means. Historically, enslaved people were freed either by manumission (granted freedom by their captor-owners) or emancipation (granted freedom as part of a larger group). A fugitive slave is a person who escaped slavery by fleeing.
Rome differed from Greek city-states in allowing freed slaves to become plebeian citizens.The act of freeing a slave was called manumissio, from manus, "hand" (in the sense of holding or possessing something), and missio, the act of releasing. After manumission, a slave who had belonged to a Roman citizen enjoyed not only passive freedom from ownership, but active political freedom (libertas), including the right to vote. A slave who had acquired libertas was known as a libertus ("freed person", feminine liberta) in relation to his former master, who was called his or her patron (patronus).
As a social class, freed slaves were liberti, though later Latin texts used the terms libertus and libertini interchangeably.Libertini were not entitled to hold public office or state priesthoods, nor could they achieve legitimate senatorial rank. During the early Empire, however, freedmen held key positions in the government bureaucracy, so much so that Hadrian limited their participation by law. Any future children of a freedman would be born free, with full rights of citizenship.
The Claudian Civil Service set a precedent whereby freedmen could be used as civil servants in the Roman bureaucracy. In addition, Claudius passed legislation concerning slaves, including a law stating that sick slaves abandoned by their owners became freedmen if they recovered. The emperor was criticized for using freedmen in the Imperial Courts.
Some freedmen enjoyed enormous success and became quite wealthy. The brothers who owned House of the Vettii, one of the biggest and most magnificent houses in Pompeii, are thought to have been freedmen. A freedman who became rich and influential might still be looked down on by the traditional aristocracy as a vulgar nouveau riche . Trimalchio, a character in the Satyricon of Petronius, is a caricature of such a freedman.
For centuries Arab slave traders took and transported an estimated 10 to 15 million sub-Saharan Africans to slavery in North Africa and the Middle East. They also enslaved Europeans (known as Saqaliba) from coastal areas and the Balkans. The slaves were predominately women. Many Arabs took women slaves as concubines in their harems. In the patrilineal Arab societies, the mixed-race children of concubines and Arab men were considered free. They were given inheritance rights related to their fathers' property. No studies have been done of the influence of African-Arab descendants in the societies.[ citation needed ]
In the United States, the terms "freedmen" and "freedwomen" refer chiefly to former slaves emancipated during and after the American Civil War by the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment. Slaves freed before the war (usually by individual manumissions, often in wills) were generally referred to as "Free Negroes" or free blacks. In addition, there was a population of black Americans born free.
The great majority of families of free people of color recorded in the US census in the Upper South in the first two decades after the Revolutionary War have been found to have descended from unions between white women (indentured servants or free) and black men (whether indentured servants, slave or free) in colonial Virginia. According to laws in the slave colonies (later states), children were born into the social status of their mothers; thus, mixed-race children of white women were born free.Such free families of color tended to migrate to the frontier of Virginia and other Upper South colonies, and then west into Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee with white neighbors. In addition, during the first two decades after the Revolution, slaveholders freed thousands of slaves in the Upper South, inspired by revolutionary ideals. Most northern states abolished slavery, some on a gradual basis.
In Louisiana and other areas of the former New France, free people of color were classified in French as gens de couleur libres. They were generally born to black or mixed-race mothers and white fathers of ethnic French or other European ancestry. The fathers sometimes freed their children and sexual partners, leading to the growth of the community of Creoles of color, or free people of color. New Orleans had the largest community of free people of color, well-established before the US acquired Louisiana. The French and Spanish colonial rulers had given the free people of color more rights than most free blacks had in the American South.
In addition, there were sizable communities of free people of color in French Caribbean colonies, such as Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) and Guadeloupe. Due to the violence of the Haitian Revolution, many free people of color, who were originally part of the revolution, fled the island as refugees after being attacked by slave rebels, particularly in the north of the island. Some went first to Cuba, from where they immigrated to New Orleans in 1808 and 1809 after being expelled when Napoleon invaded Spanish territory in Europe. Many brought slaves with them. Their numbers strengthened the French-speaking community of enslaved black peoples, as well as the free people of color. Other refugees from Saint-Domingue settled in Charleston, Savannah, and New York.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 declared all slaves in states not under the control of the Union to be free (i.e. the Confederacy), it did not end slavery as an institution. Abolition of all slavery (affecting four million people in the South, including Border States that had stayed in the Union) was achieved with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment gave ex-slaves full citizenship in the United States. The Fifteenth Amendment gave voting rights to adult males among the free people; as only adult males had the franchise among whites. The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments are known as the "civil rights amendments", the "post-Civil War amendments", and the "Reconstruction Amendments".
To help freedmen transition from slavery to freedom, including a free labor market, President Abraham Lincoln created the Freedmen's Bureau, which assigned agents throughout the former Confederate states. The Bureau also founded schools to educate freedmen, both adults and children; helped freedmen negotiate labor contracts; and tried to minimize violence against freedmen. The era of Reconstruction was an attempt to establish new governments in the former Confederacy and to bring freedmen into society as voting citizens. Northern church missionary societies, such as American Missionary Association, sent teachers to the South to assist in educating freedmen and their children, and established several colleges for higher education. U.S. Army occupation soldiers were stationed throughout the South via military districts enacted by the Reconstruction Acts to protect freedmen in voting polls and public facilities from violence and intimidation by white Southerners, which was common throughout the region.
The Cherokee, Choctaw and Creek nations were among those Native American tribes that held enslaved blacks before and during the American Civil War. They supported the Confederacy during the war, supplying some warriors in the West, as they were promised their own state if the Confederacy won. After the end of the war, the U.S. required these tribes to make new peace treaties, and to emancipate their slaves. They were required to offer full citizenship in their tribes to those freedmen who wanted to stay with the tribes. Numerous families had intermarried by that time or had other personal ties. If freedmen left the tribes, they would become US citizens.
In the late 20th century, the Cherokee Nation voted for restrictions on membership to only those descendants of people listed as "Cherokee by blood" on the Dawes Rolls of the early 20th century, a decision that excluded most Cherokee Freedmen (by that time this term referred to descendants of the original group). In addition to arguing that the post-Civil War treaties gave them citizenship, the Freedmen have argued that the Dawes Rolls were often inaccurate, recording as freedmen even those individuals who had partial Cherokee ancestry and were considered Cherokee by blood. The Choctaw Freedmen and Creek Freedmen have similarly struggled with their respective tribes over the terms of citizenship in contemporary times. (The tribes have wanted to limit those who can benefit from tribal citizenship, in an era in which gaming casinos are yielding considerable revenues for members.) The majority of members of the tribes have voted to limit membership, and as sovereign nations, they have the right to determine their rules. Descendants of freedmen believe their long standing as citizens since the post-Civil War treaties should be continued. In 2017 the Cherokee Freedmen were granted citizenship again in the tribe.
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The Reconstruction era was the period in American history which lasted from 1865 to 1877. It was a significant chapter in the history of American civil rights.
Manumission, or affranchisement, is the act of an owner freeing his or her slaves. Different approaches developed, each specific to the time and place of a particular society. Jamaican historian Verene Shepherd states that the most widely used term is gratuitous manumission, "the conferment of freedom on the enslaved by enslavers before the end of the slave system".
Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement, primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America from the beginning of the nation in 1776 until passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Slavery had been practiced in British America from early colonial days, and was legal in all thirteen colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Under the law, an enslaved person was treated as property and could be bought, sold, or given away. Slavery lasted in about half of U.S. states until 1865. As an economic system, slavery was largely replaced by sharecropping and convict leasing.
In the context of the history of slavery in the Americas, free people of color were people of mixed African, European, and sometimes Native American descent who were not enslaved. The term arose in the French colonies, including La Louisiane and settlements on Caribbean islands, such as Saint-Domingue (Haiti), St.Lucia, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, where a distinct group of free people of color developed. Freed African slaves were included in the term affranchis, but historically they were considered as distinct from the free people of color. In these territories and major cities, particularly New Orleans, and those cities held by the Spanish, a substantial third class of primarily mixed-race, free people developed. These colonial societies classified mixed-race people in a variety of ways, generally related to visible features and to the proportion of African ancestry. Racial classifications were numerous in Latin America.
The Black Codes, sometimes called Black Laws, were laws governing the conduct of African Americans. The best known of them were passed in 1865 and 1866 by Southern states, after the American Civil War, in order to restrict African Americans' freedom, and to compel them to work for low wages. However, Black Codes existed before the Civil War, and many Northern states had them. In 1832, "in most of the United States, there is a distinction in respect to political privileges, between free white persons and free coloured persons of African blood; and in no part of the country do the latter, in point of fact, participate equally with the whites, in the exercise of civil and political rights."
In United States history, a free Negro or free black was the legal status, in the geographic area of the United States, of blacks who were not slaves. It included both freed slaves (freedmen) and those who had been born free.
The Black Seminoles or Afro-Seminoles are black Indians associated with the Seminole people in Florida and Oklahoma. They are mostly blood descendants of the Seminole people, free blacks and of escaped slaves who allied with Seminole groups in Spanish Florida. Many have Seminole lineage, but due to the stigma of having dark skin, they all have been categorized as slaves or freedmen.
Black Indians are Native American people — defined as Native American due to being affiliated with Native American communities and being culturally Native American – who also have significant African American heritage. Many Indigenous peoples of the Eastern Woodlands, such as the Narragansett, Pequot, Wampanoag, and Shinnecock, as well as people from the nations historically from the Southeast, such as Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee, have a significant degree of African and often European ancestry as well.
Partus sequitur ventrem, often abbreviated to partus, was a legal doctrine concerning the slave or free status of children born in the English royal colonies. Incorporated into legislation in the British American colonies and later in the United States, partus held that the legal status of a child followed that of his or her mother. Thus, any child born to an enslaved woman was born into slavery, regardless of the ancestry or citizenship of the father. This principle was widely adopted into the laws regarding slavery in the colonies and the following United States, eliminating financial responsibility of fathers for children born into slavery.
The Reconstruction Amendments are the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments to the United States Constitution, adopted between 1865 and 1870, the five years immediately following the Civil War. The last time the Constitution had been amended was with the Twelfth Amendment more than 60 years earlier in 1804. The Reconstruction amendments were important in implementing the Reconstruction of the American South after the war. Their proponents saw them as transforming the United States from a country that was "half slave and half free" to one in which the constitutionally guaranteed "blessings of liberty" would be extended to the entire populace, including the former slaves and their descendants.
The New-York Manumission Society was an American organization founded in 1785 by U.S. Founding Father John Jay, among others, to promote the gradual abolition of slavery and manumission of slaves of African descent within the state of New York. The organization was made up entirely of white men, most of whom were wealthy and held influential positions in society. Throughout its history, which ended in 1849, the society battled against the slave trade, and for the eventual emancipation of all the slaves in the state. It founded the African Free School for the poor and orphaned children of slaves and free people of color.
1824: The Arkansas War is a 2006 alternate history novel by American writer Eric Flint.
The Cherokee Freedmen Controversy was a political and tribal dispute between the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and descendants of the Cherokee Freedmen regarding the issue of tribal membership. The controversy had resulted in several legal proceedings between the two parties from the late 20th century to August 2017.
The Choctaw freedmen were indigenous people of color who were granted citizenship in the Choctaw Nation. Their freedom and citizenship were requirements of the 1866 treaty the US made with the Choctaw; it required a new treaty because the Choctaw had sided with the Confederate States of America during the war. The Confederacy had promised the Choctaw and other tribes of Indian Territory a Native American state if it won the war.
The Treaty with Choctaws and Chickasaws was a treaty signed on July 12, 1861 between the Choctaw and Chickasaw and the Confederate States of America. At the beginning of the American Civil War, Albert Pike was appointed as Confederate envoy to Native Americans. In this capacity he negotiated several treaties, one of the most important being with Cherokee chief John Ross, which was concluded in 1861. The treaty was ratified and was proclaimed on December 20, 1861 by the Confederacy. The Choctaw and Chickasaw also duly ratified the treaty.
Native Americans in the American Civil War participated as individuals, bands, tribes, and nations in numerous skirmishes and battles. Native Americans served in both the Union and Confederate military during the American Civil War. They were found in the Eastern, Western, and Trans-Mississippi Theaters. At the outbreak of the war, for example, most Cherokees sided with the Union, but they soon allied with the Confederacy. Native Americans fought knowing they might jeopardize their sovereignty, unique cultures, and ancestral lands if they ended up on the losing side of the Civil War. 28,693 Native Americans served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War, participating in battles such as Pea Ridge, Second Manassas, Antietam, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and in Federal assaults on Petersburg.
Slavery among Native Americans in the United States includes slavery by Native Americans as well as slavery of Native Americans roughly within the present-day United States. Tribal territories and the slave trade ranged over present-day borders. Some Native American tribes held war captives as slaves prior to and during European colonization; some Native Americans were captured and sold by others into slavery to Europeans while others were captured by Europeans and sold into slavery, and a small number of tribes, in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, adopted the practice of holding slaves as chattel property and held increasing numbers of African-American slaves.
The 1842 Slave Revolt in the Cherokee Nation, then located in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) west of the Mississippi River, was the largest escape of a group of slaves to occur among the Cherokee. The slave revolt started on November 15, 1842, when a group of 20 African-American slaves owned by the Cherokee escaped and tried to reach Mexico, where slavery had been abolished in 1829. Along their way south, they were joined by 15 slaves escaping from the Creek in Indian Territory.
Slavery in Maryland lasted around 200 years, from its beginnings in 1642 when the first Africans were brought as slaves to St. Mary's City, to its end after the Civil War. While Maryland developed similarly to neighboring Virginia, slavery declined here as an institution earlier, and it had the largest free black population by 1860 of any state. The early settlements and population centers of the province tended to cluster around the rivers and other waterways that empty into the Chesapeake Bay. Maryland planters cultivated tobacco as the chief commodity crop, as the market was strong in Europe. Tobacco was labor-intensive in both cultivation and processing, and planters struggled to manage workers as tobacco prices declined in the late 17th century, even as farms became larger and more efficient. At first, indentured servants from England supplied much of the necessary labor but, as their economy improved at home, fewer made passage to the colonies. Maryland colonists turned to importing indentured and enslaved Africans to satisfy the labor demand.
African slaves were owned by Native Americans from the colonial period until the United States' Civil War. The interactions between Native Americans and African Slaves in the antebellum United States is complex, given that slavery played a significant role in the creation and construction of America. This slavery institution relied largely on the enslavement of Africans and Native Americans owned by white European colonists and later white Americans after the United States gained independence from Great Britain.