Racial prejudice worked to perpetuate American slavery, even if it was not essential to sustain the institution. Slavery, serfdom, and peonage had existed elsewhere without racial connotations. Indeed, bondage had been so historically ubiquitous one might well ask why, by the 1760’s, it had come to trouble so many white Americans so much. The answer lies in part — and this part help explain why people like Mason did not act more aggressively on their concerns — in the reservations many whites felt about living alongside members of a supposedly inferior race, whether slave or free. The problem was inherent in American slavery, and emancipation, by undermining white control, would only make it worse.
Paul Revere (1734—1818)
Silver; 21.9 x 18.4 x 13 cm (8 5/8 x 7 1/4 x 5 1/8 in). Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.
Copper and wood.
Silver; H: 3.7 cm (1 7/16 in), Diameter: 5.1 cm (2 in). Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.
A View of Part of the Town of Boston in New-England and Brittish Ships of War Landing Their Troops! 1768
Used in the trial of eight British soldiers who were prosecuted in November 1770; six were acquitted.
Engraved print; 13.4 x 11 cm (5 1/4 x 4 5/16 in). Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.