James Forten born September 2, 1766 in Philadelphia was an African American abolitionist . He was born in a time when black people suffered greatly under the oppression of slavery. At the age of 7 after his father passed away, and he began working as a chimney sweep to help the family. He joined the navy at 15 and on his second voyage was taken prisoner by the British but by good fortune the captain son begged that captain that he be delivered to England, but he had to renounce his alliance to the United States he refused and was sent on a prison ship back to America. Nevertheless, he was later released and returned to his hometown and learned sail making where he later took over the sail loft accumulating wealth.
In his same city of Philadelphia there was a meeting about the constitution taking place and it was being proposed that the saying “all men were created equal” would not apply to people of color but instead they would be three fifths of a person . James probably was furious that his brothers and sisters were considered seats not for themselves but for the establishing of congressional seats of the state of the new United States. He used his energy to focus on what he could control not what he could not. that’s why he became an entrepreneur and was very outspoken of slavery even though he was never born into slavery. He served in the Revolutionary War which was very rare for an African Americans to serve during these times. He was the very definition of a loyalist. Loyal to a country that truthfully overall didn’t love him.
A good question is who do you think James Forten would of agree more with? Federalists or anti-federalists. The answer is we probably will never know but here are some facts about both parties and I will give my opinion on who I think Mr. Forten would have agreed more with during this time period. The federalist was in favor of a strong central or national government to keep the country running smoothly. They were mostly wealthy business men living in the bigger cities along the coast line. Some notable federalist were Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison and John Marshall. On the other hand, were the Anti-federalist. They were against ratification. They feared a strong central government would be too much like a king and wanted a bill of rights to be adopted to the constitution . That in itself would guarantee people the freedom they had fought so hard for in the war. Some historians wrote how they were way less organized and featured common people living in cities and the country side of America.
Some better known Anti-federalist included John Adams, Patrick Henry, George Clinton and Sam Adams. Both Anti-federalist and federalist were worried with keeping liberty, however they had many disagreements over whether or not a solid national government would destroy or preserve the liberty of the united states of America. It is easy to say which side you think was right and say that if you would have been alive during this time you would have supported the ratification on the constitution. But to get into the mind of another individual such as James Forten and state your opinion on whether or not you think he would have leaned towards the federalist or Anti -federalist is very hard. He could of not wanted to support neither because I’m sure during this time him or any other African American that’s wasn’t salves weren’t on there mind when they were debating about the constitution.