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Planters, Merchants, and SlavesPlantation Societies in British America, 1650-1820$
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Trevor Burnard

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226286105

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226286242.001.0001

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The American Revolution and Plantation America

The American Revolution and Plantation America

Chapter:
(p.211) Five The American Revolution and Plantation America
Source:
Planters, Merchants, and Slaves
Author(s):

Trevor Burnard

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226286242.003.0006

The American Revolution was an Atlantic event. It led to a split in British America, with the plantation societies in British North America joining in revolt and the British West Indies staying loyal. The reason why the British West Indies remained in the empire was an instinctive loyalism. The results of the American Revolution were mixed. It led to Britain becoming very assertive in imperial matters, especially as an aggressive abolitionist movement developed, targeting West Indian planters as moral deviants. Ironically, that part of British America that became the United States of America was able to maintain its authority over slaves more than in the West Indies, despite suffering considerably during the war itself. The West Indies was not greatly affected by the American Revolution, although the planned invasion of Jamaica in 1782 was alarming. The loss of the majority of whites in plantation America made West Indian planters vulnerable to abolitionist attacks, making them particular losers from the revolutionary conflict. Particular emphasis is placed in this chapter upon the experience of ordinary white men in the Revolution and upon their importance in helping to determine the outcome of the conflict and on their experiences after the Revolution was completed.

Keywords:   America Revolution, Atlantic, loyalism, West Indies, Britain, abolitionism, Slaves, Jamaica, planters, deviance

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