The Forgotten Fifth: African Americans in the Age of Revolution

The Forgotten Fifth: African Americans in the Age of Revolution

Gary B. Nash / Jul 23, 2019

The Forgotten Fifth African Americans in the Age of Revolution As the United States gained independence a full fifth of the country s population was African American The experiences of these men and women have been largely ignored in the accounts of the colonies

  • Title: The Forgotten Fifth: African Americans in the Age of Revolution
  • Author: Gary B. Nash
  • ISBN: 9780674021938
  • Page: 282
  • Format: Hardcover
  • As the United States gained independence, a full fifth of the country s population was African American The experiences of these men and women have been largely ignored in the accounts of the colonies glorious quest for freedom In this compact volume, Gary B Nash reorients our understanding of early America, and reveals the perilous choices of the founding fathers thatAs the United States gained independence, a full fifth of the country s population was African American The experiences of these men and women have been largely ignored in the accounts of the colonies glorious quest for freedom In this compact volume, Gary B Nash reorients our understanding of early America, and reveals the perilous choices of the founding fathers that shaped the nation s future Nash tells of revolutionary fervor arousing a struggle for freedom that spiraled into the largest slave rebellion in American history, as blacks fled servitude to fight for the British, who promised freedom in exchange for military service The Revolutionary Army never matched the British offer, and most histories of the period have ignored this remarkable story The conventional wisdom says that abolition was impossible in the fragile new republic Nash, however, argues that an unusual convergence of factors immediately after the war created a unique opportunity to dismantle slavery The founding fathers failure to commit to freedom led to the waning of abolitionism just as it had reached its peak In the opening decades of the nineteenth century, as Nash demonstrates, their decision enabled the ideology of white supremacy to take root, and with it the beginnings of an irreparable national fissure The moral failure of the Revolution was paid for in the 1860s with the lives of the 600,000 Americans killed in the Civil War The Forgotten Fifth is a powerful story of the nation s multiple, and painful, paths to freedom.

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    About "Gary B. Nash"

      • Gary B. Nash

        Gary B Nash received his B A from Princeton University in 1955 and his Ph.D from Princeton in 1964 He earned the position of Director of the National Center for History in the Schools at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he taught colonial and revolutionary American history since 1974 Nash has been the Director of the National Center for History in the Schools sinc 1994 and co chaired the National History Standards Project from 1992 1996 His past positions include Dean of Undergraduate and Intercollege Curricular Development, University of California, Los Angeles President, Organization of American Historians Dean, Council on Educational Development, University of California, Los Angeles Assistant Professor, Department of History, Princeton University He has received research grants from the University of California Institute of Humanities and American Philosophical Society and fellowships from the Guggenheim Memorial and American Council of Learned Society Nash was elected member of American Antiquarian Society, Society of American Historians, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as winning the University of California Distinguished Emeriti Award and the Defense of Academic Freedom Award, from the National Council for Social Studies Nash is the Founding Member and has been on the Board of Trustees of the National Council for History Education since 1990 and was Vice Chair in 1992 He was also President of the Organization of American Historians, from 1994 95, the Primary History Consultant for the Schlessinger Production series in United States History, from 1996 97, he was on the University of California Bicentennial Committee, from 1975 76 and was an Historical Consultant and Writer for Lights of Liberty, sound and light tour, Philadelphia, PA, in 1999 Among the books Nash has authored are Quakers and Politics Pennsylvania, 1681 1726 1968 Red, White and Black The Peoples of Early America 1974, 1982 The Urban Crucible Social Change, Political Consciousness, and the Origins of the American Revolution 1979 and Forging Freedom The Black Urban Experience in Philadelphia, 1720 1840 1988.


    312 Comments

    1. Nash offers an interesting corrective to the typical whitewashed American Revolution taught in schools and colleges. He traces black participation in the war and then illustrates how African-Americans, increasingly restricted from the developing Anglo-American United States, began forming their own social and cultural nation within the United States. This is a relatively thin book, which is to be expected given that the three chapters were based on The Nathan I. Huggins Lectures Nash gave at Har [...]


    2. This is a set of three lectures that first examine the role of African Americans on both sides of the Revolutionary War (which is the subject of a research project I'm working on), then pretty effectively demolishes the idea that it would have been impossible to end slavery at the beginning of the nation, as many historians had argued. When you are done with Nash's book, you come away with a sense that the Founding Fathers fumbled an ideal opportunity to eliminate slavery and avoid the Civil War [...]


    3. This is a short book. It’s a small book, also. The edition I read is hardcover, but the pages are about the size of a typical paperback novel, with generous margins around the text. About one-third of the book’s 235 pages are notes and the index. Ultimately, it’s more an essay, or perhaps three essays, than a book, and more a conversation-starter than an authoritative statement. That may well be exactly what the author intended, though, and in any event it’s no bad thing.I certainly did [...]


    4. This wasn't the most exciting history book I've ever read. I think part of the problem was that it was edited form lectures that the author had given. It may have been better spoken rather than read. Having said that it did open my eyes to the false idea that continued slavery and racial prejudice concerning US citizenship was not inevitable. It was interesting to read the ideas that were circulating during this time period and to learn about Black thinkers during this time period and how they s [...]


    5. Nash's provocative work suggests that the American Revolution constituted "the first mass slave rebellion in American history." This convincing interpretation of the Revolution raises important questions about the possibility for abolition in the wake of war, with Nash arguing that the post-Revolution landscape was amenable to emancipation. Ultimately, Nash reveals, the rise of Jeffersonian politics signaled a retrenchment of white supremacist thinking that ultimately silenced the lingering crie [...]



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