“The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832” Book Review

The book “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832” discuss the causes, course, and consequence of the flight by slaves to join and help the war. it also focuses on the war years of 1812- 1815, the book conflict in a longer history of slavery and freedom in Virginia. It also focuses on the rich document generated about the effects of the war on slavery in Virginia from the American revolution though Nat Turners revolt in 1831. The book authors Alan Taylor is an American historian specializing in early United States history. He is the author of several books about the colonial history of the United States, the American Revolution and the early American Republic. Since 1995, he has won two Pulitzer Prizes and the Bancroft Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Award for non-fiction. The author’s uses documents and sources from the 1800s about slavery in Virginia. He also Drawn from new sources that other authors have not use on 1800s slavery in Virginia. The slaves of Virginia were the internal enemy of Taylor’s title, and he opens their story with the War of Independence in 1775 and ended his story the years after the war of 1812.

During the revolutionary war the British would take slaves from their owners and their plantations to fight for the British in the war. British officers in Virginia had begun promising freedom to slaves who escaped from their rebellious owners to enlist with His Majesty’s forces. Because black Virginians knew the surrounding countryside much better than the invaders, escaping slaves became a crucial resource for the British war effort. Soon the British were emancipating entire slave families who took advantage of the American Revolution to claim their freedom in Canada or the Caribbean.

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In the early 1800s slave owners of a new generation had a different mind of slavery. They started to work with the slaves and started to get closer with them, going away from the old view of just being the owner of them and seeing them as property. Slave Owners became friendlier with their slaves and looked more as a as a friend and not their boss and owners. Before the war white Virginians saw slaves as only property that were important to own importance was farming the crops.

Taylor states that the War of 1812 was a turning point in U.S. history, but the direction he sees America turning is not the familiar one. When the British invaded the Tidewater areas of Virginia. Once again tey enticed slaves with offers of freedom that thousands of slaves took advantage of. worst of the book is of slavery in Virginia during the War of 1812 not only of slaves but of slaveholders. the Corotoman was a large Virginia plantation that was passed by marriage from one of the wealthiest families in Virginia the Carters into the hands of St. George Tucker. He was one of the most respected planter-lawyers of the post-revolutionary generation. The Tucker family was the backdrop of general economic of Virginia planters. Taylor traces the shattering effect of the British invasion during the War of 1812 on plantations like Corotoman. But the same invasion that disrupted so many Tidewater plantations offered the chance of freedom to thousands of Virginia slaves.

During the war a lot of Virginia plantations and owners were threatened by runaway slaves to have now joined the British army. During the war slaves would join the British to fight against the US in over 100,000 of them wanted to help to destroy the slave system. the British terrified the whites in the Chesapeake Bay area by invading their farms and plantations, sacking their towns and villages, and freeing their slaves. Thousands of slaves, enlisted in the British navy and others went to freedom in Bermuda, Nova Scotia and Trinidad. This infuriated slave owners and when they have the opportunity at the end the war they did everything they could to buy back their slaves and even sent people to go retrieve with their slaves from different countries.

After the war of 1812 the British gave slaves to freedom and the ability to have their own lives. The British new that giving slaves to freedom would hurt Virginia’s economy and their way of life. To a lot of slaves their freedom was what they were fighting for when they join the British in 1812 but most of them came back to their owners to be with their family. more than half of the runaways did not do anything unless the family could come with them. The author does a good job of showing how much slaves families were imported and how much they believe in family this happiness. He even shows that runaways that escaped in time war were in family groups, unlike the individual young men who most often absconded in peacetime.

At the end of the war, southern whites started recognizing black troops more during the war. The end of the war 400 runaways leads to Britain army in over half of them came back because they saw the portance a family and they went back into slavery. After the war slave owners became threatened by the runaways and the rites among slaves, so slavery became stricter in the mid-1800s.

During the 1700s and 1800s class in America it’s totally different from what it was the 1900s and today. during that time slaves were the lowest on the totem pole and most people especially white Virginians did not even see his slaves in the class ranking. The Virginia slave owners of plantation wilderness saw themselves in one of the highest classes in America at that time. Just like Saint George Tucker saw that he walked his family and he water slaves and that he was the highest-class member of his family.

The author gives a great description and details of what it was like in the 1700s and 1800s first slaves and slave owners. The author does a good job of using new information and documents that has not been used before. The way he used the information and the storys has the effect of changing people’s minds about Virginia’s in the 1700s and 1800s especially slave owners and slaves. Virginia in the 1800s should remember as farming state that need help farming their crops, both white and black in Virginia live on plantations was introduced to America nearly two centuries before. The significance that the 1800s have on the us today is that we are still feeling the effects of racism and diversity. And also, with the discussion about should we turn down the monument and take away the names of schools because they owned slaves is a discussion that the entire US is having today. In The last decade the question how to honor the founders of the united states has become mainstream. The founding fathers have traditionally been considered national heroes. The legacy of slavery has forced the U.S. to change their perception of the founding fathers. This topic has affect the U.S. today, as me fight with the issues of racism, intolerance, and inequality in America. The fact that they owned slaves should not change your perception of them. Even though the issue of slavery is often raised as a discrediting charge against the Founding Fathers, the historical fact is that slavery was not the product of, nor was it an evil introduced by, the Founding Fathers; slavery had been introduced to America nearly two centuries before the Founders.

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“The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832” Book Review. (2021, Dec 20). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-internal-enemy-slavery-and-war-in-virginia-1772-1832-book-review/