Freedman

Last updated

A freedman or freedwoman is a formerly enslaved person who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means. Historically, enslaved people were freed by manumission (granted freedom by their captor-owners), emancipation (granted freedom as part of a larger group), or self-purchase. A fugitive slave is a person who escaped enslavement by fleeing.

Contents

Ancient Rome

Cinerary urn for the freedman Tiberius Claudius Chryseros and two women, probably his wife and daughter DM Tiberius Claudius Chryseros.jpg
Cinerary urn for the freedman Tiberius Claudius Chryseros and two women, probably his wife and daughter

Rome differed from Greek city-states in allowing freed slaves to become plebeian citizens. [1] 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. [2] 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. [3] 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. [4] 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.

Arabian and North African slavery

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 ]

United States

Former slave with horn historically used to call slaves, Texas, 1939. Photo by Russell Lee. Old Freedman with old slave horn Texas 1939.jpg
Former slave with horn historically used to call slaves, Texas, 1939. Photo by Russell Lee.

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 the legal principle of partus sequitur ventrem, 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. [5] Such free families of color tended to migrate to the frontier of Virginia and other Upper South colonies, and then west into Kentucky, the future West Virginia, and Tennessee. [5] 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.

Emancipation

The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 declared all slaves in the Confederacy—states in rebellion and not under the control of the Union—to be permanently free. It did not end slavery in the five border states that had stayed in the Union. Slavery elsewhere was abolished by state action, or with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in December of 1865. The Civil Rights Act of 1866, passed over the veto of President Andrew Johnson, gave ex-slaves full citizenship (except for voting) in the United States. The Fourteenth Amendment was passed to make clear that Congress had the legal authority to do so. The Fifteenth Amendment gave voting rights to all adult males; 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 bodies, such as the American Missionary Association and the Freewill Baptists, sent teachers to the South to assist in educating freedmen and their children, and eventually established several colleges for higher education. U.S. Army occupation soldiers were stationed throughout the South via military districts enacted by the Reconstruction Acts; they protected freedmen in voting polls and public facilities from violence and intimidation by white Southerners, which were common throughout the region.

Cherokee Freedmen

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. [6] [7] [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

Reconstruction era Era of military occupation (1865–1877) in the Southern United States after the American Civil War

The Reconstruction era was a period in American history following the American Civil War (1861–1865); it lasted from 1865 to 1877 and marked a significant chapter in the history of civil rights in the United States. Reconstruction, as directed by Congress, abolished slavery and ended the remnants of Confederate secession in the Southern states; it presented the newly freed slaves as citizens with (ostensibly) the same civil rights as those of other citizens, and which rights were guaranteed by three new constitutional amendments, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Reconstruction also refers to the attempt by Congress to transform the 11 former Confederate states; and it refers to the role of the Union states in that transformation.

Manumission Act of a slave owner freeing their slaves

Manumission, or enfranchisement, is the act of freeing slaves by their owners. Different approaches to manumission were 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".

Five Civilized Tribes Native American grouping

The term "Five Civilized Tribes" derives from the colonial and early federal period in the history of the United States. It refers to five Native American nations—the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek (Muscogee), and Seminole. These are the first five tribes that European Americans generally considered to be "civilized". Examples of colonial attributes adopted by these five tribes, which led European Americans to label them civilized, include Christianity, centralized governments, literacy in English, market participation, written constitutions, intermarriage with white Americans, and plantation slavery practices. The Five Civilized Tribes tended to maintain stable political relations with the European Americans.

Slavery in the United States

Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel slavery, comprising the enslavement primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America from its founding in 1776 until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Slavery was established throughout European colonization in the Americas. From early colonial days, it was practiced in Britain's colonies, including the Thirteen Colonies which formed the United States. 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.

Black Codes (United States) Discriminatory state and local laws passed after the Civil War

The Black Codes, sometimes called Black Laws, were laws governing the conduct of African Americans. In 1832, James Kent wrote that "in most of the United States, there is a distinction in respect to political privileges, between free white persons and free colored 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." Although Black Codes existed before the Civil War and many Northern states had them, it was the Southern U.S. states that codified such laws in everyday practice. 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.

Free Negro Not enslaved African Americans

In the British colonies in North America and in the United States before the abolition of slavery in 1865, free Negro or free Black described the legal status of African Americans who were not enslaved. The term was applied both to formerly enslaved people (freedmen) and to those who had been born free.

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 Seminole, Creek and Cherokee, have a significant degree of African and often European ancestry as well.

Slavery in ancient Rome Treatment of people as property in ancient Rome and its empire

Slavery in ancient Rome played an important role in society and the economy. Besides manual labour, slaves performed many domestic services and might be employed at highly skilled jobs and professions. Accountants and physicians were often slaves. Slaves of Greek origin in particular might be highly educated. Unskilled slaves, or those sentenced to slavery as punishment, worked on farms, in mines, and at mills.

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.

History of slavery in Kentucky Aspect of history

The history of slavery in Kentucky dates from the earliest permanent European settlements in the state, until the end of the Civil War. Kentucky was classified as the Upper South or a border state, and enslaved African Americans represented 24% by 1830, but declined to 19.5% by 1860 on the eve of the Civil War. The majority of enslaved people in Kentucky were concentrated in the cities of Louisville and Lexington, in the fertile Bluegrass Region as well the Jackson Purchase, both the largest hemp- and tobacco-producing areas in the state. In addition, many enslaved people lived in the Ohio River counties where they were most often used in skilled trades or as house servants. Few people lived in slavery in the mountainous regions of eastern and southeastern Kentucky. Those that did that were held in eastern and southeastern Kentucky served primarily as artisans and service workers in towns.

s 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.

Cherokee in the American Civil War

The Cherokee in the American Civil War were active in the Trans-Mississippi and Western Theaters. In the east, Confederate Cherokees led by William Holland Thomas hindered Union forces trying to use the Appalachian mountain passes of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. Out west, Confederate Cherokee Stand Watie led primarily Native Confederate forces in the Indian Territory, in what is now the state of Oklahoma. The Cherokee partnered with the Confederacy in order to get funds, as well as ultimately full recognition as a sovereign, independent state.

Treaty with Choctaws and Chickasaws 1861 treaty between the Confederate States and the Choctaws and Chickasaws

The Treaty with Choctaws and Chickasaws was a treaty signed on July 12, 1861 between the Choctaw and Chickasaw and the Confederate States. 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 proclaimed on December 20, 1861 by the Confederacy. The Choctaw and Chickasaw also duly ratified the treaty.

Slavery among Native Americans in the United States Native Americans owning, and being, slaves

Slavery among Native Americans in the United States includes slavery by and slavery of Native Americans roughly within what is currently the United States of America.

1842 Slave Revolt in the Cherokee Nation

The 1842 Slave Revolt in the Cherokee Nation was the largest escape of a group of slaves to occur in the Cherokee Nation, in what was then Indian Territory. 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 Nation in Indian Territory.

Cherokee Nation (1794–1907) Historic, autonomous Native American government

The Cherokee Nation was a legal, autonomous, tribal government in North America recognized from 1794 to 1907. It was often referred to simply as "The Nation" by its inhabitants. The government was effectively disbanded in 1907, after its land rights had been extinguished, prior to the admission of Oklahoma as a state. During the late 20th century, the Cherokee people reorganized, instituting a government with sovereign jurisdiction known as the Cherokee Nation. On July 9, 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation had never been disestablished in the years before allotment and Oklahoma Statehood.

On the eve of the American Civil War in 1861, a significant number of Indigenous peoples of the Americas had been relocated from the Southeastern United States to Indian Territory, west of the Mississippi. The inhabitants of the eastern part of the Indian Territory, the Five Civilized Tribes, were suzerain nations with established tribal governments, well established cultures, and legal systems that allowed for slavery. Before European Contact these tribes were generally matriarchial societies, with agriculture being the primary economic pursuit. The bulk of the tribes lived in towns with planned streets, residential and public areas. The people were ruled by complex hereditary chiefdoms of varying size and complexity with high levels of military organization.

James Milton Turner American diplomat

James Milton Turner was a Reconstruction Era political leader, activist, educator, and diplomat. As consul general to Liberia, he was the first African-American to serve in the U.S. diplomatic corps.

Native American slave ownership

Native American slave ownership refers to the ownership of enslaved Africans and Native Americans by Native Americans from the colonial period of American history to the U.S. Civil War. Waves of European colonization brought enslaved Africans to North America. Responding to pressure from European settlement, some Native Americans attempted to culturally assimilate; this included slave ownership. Many prominent people from the "Five Civilized Tribes" purchased slaves from their white neighbors and became members of the planter class. All slaves owned by Native Americans were emancipated after the American Civil War.

History of slavery in Oklahoma

The history of slavery in Oklahoma began in the 1830s with the five Native American nations in the area: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. Slavery within these Native American nations began simply by placing a lower status on them than their master. The slavery in these tribes varied in style, being specifically different from American slavery. Slavery in the area continued to grow for many years, even throughout the entirety of the Civil War. The growth was significant, slaves making up a portion of the population in the new Indian territory. Slavery ended in the Oklahoma area with the completion of the Civil War. Treaties were made with the nations regarding citizenship and slavery for African Americans. The repercussions of slavery that followed greatly affected the state, with prominent racial issues.

References

  1. "Slaves & Freemen". PBS .
  2. Millar, Fergus (1998–2002). The Crowd in Rome in the Late Republic. University of Michigan. pp. 23 & 209.
  3. Mouritsen, Henrik (2011). The Freedman in the Roman World. Cambridge University Press. p. 36.
  4. Berger, Adolf (1953). libertinus, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Roman Law. American Philological Society. p. 564.
  5. 1 2 Heinegg, Paul (1995–2005). Free African Americans of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware.
  6. Cherokee Nation v. Raymond Nash, et al. and Marilyn Vann, et al. and Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior ruling, August 30, 2017
  7. "Judge Rules That Cherokee Freedmen Have Right To Tribal Citizenship". npr. 2017-08-31. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  8. Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree issues statement on Freedmen ruling, August 31, 2017 (Accessible in PDF format as of September 8, 2017