Freedman

Last updated

A freedman or freedwoman is a former slave who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means. Historically, slaves were freed either by manumission (granted freedom by their owner) or emancipation (granted freedom as part of a larger group). A fugitive slave is one who escaped slavery by fleeing.

Slavery System under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work

Slavery is any system in which principles of property law are applied to people, allowing individuals to own, buy and sell other individuals, as a de jure form of property. A slave is unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement and works without remuneration. Many scholars now use the term chattel slavery to refer to this specific sense of legalised, de jure slavery. In a broader sense, however, the word slavery may also refer to any situation in which an individual is de facto forced to work against their own will. Scholars also use the more generic terms such as unfree labour or forced labour to refer to such situations. However, and especially under slavery in broader senses of the word, slaves may have some rights and protections according to laws or customs.

Manumission act of slave owner freeing slaves

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".

Abolitionism movement to end slavery

Abolitionism was the movement to end slavery. This term can be used both formally and informally. In Western Europe and the Americas, abolitionism was a historic movement that sought to end the Atlantic slave trade and set slaves free. King Charles I of Spain, usually known as Emperor Charles V, was following the example of Louis X of France, who had abolished slavery within the Kingdom of France in 1315. He passed a law which would have abolished colonial slavery in 1542, although this law was not passed in the largest colonial states, and it was not enforced as a result. In the late 17th century, the Roman Catholic Church officially condemned the slave trade in response to a plea by Lourenço da Silva de Mendouça, and it was also vehemently condemned by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839. The abolitionist movement only started in the late 18th century, however, when English and American Quakers began to question the morality of slavery. James Oglethorpe was among the first to articulate the Enlightenment case against slavery, banning it in the Province of Georgia on humanitarian grounds, and arguing against it in Parliament, and eventually encouraging his friends Granville Sharp and Hannah More to vigorously pursue the cause. Soon after his death in 1785, Sharp and More united with William Wilberforce and others in forming the Clapham Sect.

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).

The plebs were, in ancient Rome, the general body of free Roman citizens who were not patricians, as determined by the census. The precise origins of the group and the term are unclear, though it may be that they began as a limited political movement in opposition to the elite (patricians) which became more widely applied.

In linguistics, grammatical gender is a specific form of noun class system in which the division of noun classes forms an agreement system with another aspect of the language, such as adjectives, articles, pronouns, or verbs. This system is used in approximately one quarter of the world's languages. In these languages, most or all nouns inherently carry one value of the grammatical category called gender; the values present in a given language are called the genders of that language. According to one definition: "Genders are classes of nouns reflected in the behaviour of associated words."

Patronage (clientela) was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the patronus and their cliens. The relationship was hierarchical, but obligations were mutual. The patronus was the protector, sponsor, and benefactor of the client; the technical term for this protection was patrocinium. Although typically the client was of inferior social class, a patron and client might even hold the same social rank, but the former would possess greater wealth, power, or prestige that enabled them to help or do favors for the client. From the emperor at the top to the local municipal person at the bottom, the bonds between these groups found formal expression in legal definition of patrons' responsibilities to clients.

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.

Roman magistrate elected official in Ancient Rome

The Roman magistrates were elected officials in Ancient Rome.

Religion in ancient Rome the ancestral ethnic religion of the city of Rome

Religion in Ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion of the city of Rome that the Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in so far as they became widely followed in Rome and Italy. The Romans thought of themselves as highly religious, and attributed their success as a world power to their collective piety (pietas) in maintaining good relations with the gods. The Romans are known for the great number of deities they honored, a capacity that earned the mockery of early Christian polemicists.

Hadrian 2nd-century Roman Emperor

Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus in Italica, near Santiponce, Spain into a Hispano-Roman family. His father was of senatorial rank and was a first cousin of Emperor Trajan. He married Trajan's grand-niece Vibia Sabina early in his career, before Trajan became emperor and possibly at the behest of Trajan's wife Pompeia Plotina. Plotina and Trajan's close friend and adviser Lucius Licinius Sura were well disposed towards Hadrian. When Trajan died, his widow claimed that he had nominated Hadrian as emperor immediately before his death.

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.

Claudius Fourth Emperor of Ancient Rome

Claudius was Roman emperor from AD 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul, the first Roman emperor to be born outside Italy. Because he was afflicted with a limp and slight deafness due to sickness at a young age, his family ostracized him and excluded him from public office until his consulship, shared with his nephew Caligula in 37.

Bureaucracy refers to both a body of non-elective government officials and an administrative policy-making group. Historically, a bureaucracy was a government administration managed by departments staffed with non-elected officials. Today, bureaucracy is the administrative system governing any large institution, whether publicly owned or privately owned. The public administration in many countries is an example of a bureaucracy, but so is the centralized hierarchical structure of a business firm.

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.

House of the Vettii building in Pompei, Italy

The House of the Vettii is a domus located in the Roman town, Pompeii, which was preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. The house is named for its owners, two successful freedmen: Aulus Vettius Conviva, an Augustalis, and Aulus Vettius Restitutus. Its careful excavation has preserved almost all of the wall frescos, which were completed following the earthquake of 62 AD, in the manner art historians term the Pompeiian Fourth Style. The House of Vetti is located in region VI, near the Vesuvian Gate, bordered by the Vicolo di Mercurio and the Vicolo dei Vettii. The house is one of the largest domus in Pompeii, spanning the entire southern section of block 15. The plan is fashioned in a typical Roman domus with the exception of a tablinum, which is not included. There are twelve mythological scenes across four triclinium and one cubiculum.

Pompeii Ancient Roman city near modern Naples, Italy

Pompeii was an ancient Roman city near modern Naples in the Campania region of Italy, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, was buried under 4 to 6 m of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Volcanic ash typically buried inhabitants who did not escape the lethal effects of the earthquake and eruption.

Nouveau riche is a term, usually derogatory, to describe those whose wealth has been acquired within their own generation, rather than by familial inheritance. The equivalent English term is the "new rich" or "new money". Sociologically, nouveau riche refers to the person who previously had belonged to a lower social class and economic stratum (rank) within that class; and that the new money, which constitutes his or her wealth, allowed upward social mobility and provided the means for conspicuous consumption, the buying of goods and services that signal membership in an upper class. As a pejorative term, nouveau riche affects distinctions of type, the given stratum within a social class; hence, among the rich people of a social class, nouveau riche describes the vulgarity and ostentation of the newly rich man or woman who lacks the worldly experience and the system of values of "old money", of inherited wealth, such as the patriciate, the nobility and the gentry.

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.

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 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. [5] 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. [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

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.

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

Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. In Congress, it was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, and by the House on January 31, 1865. The amendment was ratified by the required number of states on December 6, 1865. On December 18, 1865, Secretary of State William H. Seward proclaimed its adoption. It was the first of the three Reconstruction Amendments adopted following the American Civil War.

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

The Reconstruction era was the period from 1863 to 1877 in American history. It was a significant chapter in the history of American civil rights.

Harriet Ann Jacobs American Civil War nurse, slave, writer and abolitionist

Harriet Ann Jacobs was an African-American writer who escaped from slavery and was later freed. She became an abolitionist speaker and reformer. Jacobs wrote an autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, first serialized in a newspaper and published as a book in 1861 under the pseudonym Linda Brent. It was a reworking of the genres of slave narrative and sentimental novel, and was one of the first books to address the struggle for freedom by female slaves, explore their struggles with sexual harassment and abuse, and their effort to protect their roles as women and mothers.

Free people of color persons of partial African and European descent who were not enslaved

In the context of the history of slavery in the Americas, free people of color were people of mixed African and European 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.

Black Codes (United States)

The Black Codes were laws passed by Southern states in 1865 and 1866 in the United States after the American Civil War with the intent and the effect of restricting African Americans' freedom, and of compelling them to work in a labor economy based on low wages or debt. Black Codes were part of a larger pattern of Southern whites, who were trying to suppress the new freedom of emancipated African-American slaves, the freedmen. Black codes were essentially replacements for slave codes in those states. Before the war in states that prohibited slavery, some Black Codes were also enacted. Northern states such as Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and New York enacted Black Codes to discourage free blacks from residing in those states and denying them equal rights, including the right to vote, the right to public education, and the right to equal treatment under the law. Some of these northern black codes were repealed around the same time that the Civil War ended and slavery was abolished.

Blood quantum laws Historical American laws governing membership in a Native American tribe

Blood quantum laws or Indian blood laws are laws in the United States and the former Thirteen colonies that define Native American identity by percentages of ancestry. These laws were enacted by the American government, and many tribes and nations do not include Blood Quantum (BQ) as part of their enrollment criteria.

Black Seminoles ethnic group

The Black 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. Historically, the Black Seminoles lived mostly in distinct bands near the Native American Seminole. Some were held as slaves, particularly of Seminole leaders, but the Black Seminole had more freedom than did slaves held by whites in the South and by other Native American tribes, including the right to bear arms.

Black Indians are Native American people - defined as Native American due to living in 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.

<i>Partus sequitur ventrem</i> Former legal doctrine of slavery by birth

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 social 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 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.

<i>1824: The Arkansas War</i> book by Eric Flint

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.

Treaty with 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 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 role in the United States Civil War

The American Civil War saw Native American individuals, bands, tribes, and nations participate 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, the majority of the Cherokees sided with the Union, but soon after 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 Native Americans owning, and being, slaves

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.

1842 Slave Revolt in the Cherokee Nation

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 1836. Along their way south, they were joined by 15 slaves escaping from the Creek in Indian Territory.

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.

Native American slave ownership

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.

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