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American inheritance : liberty and slavery in the birth of a nation, 1765-1795  Cover Image Book Book

American inheritance : liberty and slavery in the birth of a nation, 1765-1795 / Edward J. Larson.


"From a Pulitzer Prize winner, a powerful history that reveals how the twin strands of liberty and slavery were joined in the nation's founding. New attention from historians and journalists is raising pointed questions about the founding period: was the American revolution waged to preserve slavery, and was the Constitution a pact with slavery or a landmark in the antislavery movement? Leaders of the founding who called for American liberty are scrutinized for enslaving Black people themselves: George Washington consistently refused to recognize the freedom of those who escaped his Mount Vernon plantation. And we have long needed a history of the founding that fully includes Black Americans in the Revolutionary protests, the war, and the debates over slavery and freedom that followed. We now have that history in Edward J. Larson's insightful synthesis of the founding. With slavery thriving in Britain's Caribbean empire and practiced in all of the American colonies, the independence movement's calls for liberty proved narrow, though some Black observers and others made their full implications clear. In the war, both sides employed strategies to draw needed support from free and enslaved Blacks, whose responses varied by local conditions. By the time of the Constitutional Convention, a widening sectional divide shaped the fateful compromises over slavery that would prove disastrous in the coming decades. Larson's narrative delivers poignant moments that deepen our understanding: we witness New York's tumultuous welcome of Washington as liberator through the eyes of Daniel Payne, a Black man who had escaped enslavement at Mount Vernon two years before. Indeed, throughout Larson's brilliant history it is the voices of Black Americans that prove the most convincing of all on the urgency of liberty"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780393882209
  • ISBN: 0393882209
  • Physical Description: x, 358 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 23 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York, NY : W. W. Norton & Company, [2023]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 271-345) and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Introduction: Crèvecoeur's question: "What is an American?" -- "A rabble of negros &c.": The first shots for Liberty, 1770 -- Imperial protests and the metaphor of slavery: 1765-1769 -- A practice "so odious": The legality of slavery, 1770-1774 -- The declaration of liberty: 1774-1776 -- "Liberty is Sweet": an illusive promise, 1776-1778 -- "Contending for the sweets of freedom": 1778-1781 -- A house dividing: liberty and slavery under the Confederation, 1781-1787 -- The compromised convention: 1787 -- "We, the states": ratifying liberty and slavery, 1787-1788 -- "I am free": liberty and slavery under the federal government, 1789-1795 -- Banneker's answer: I am an American.
Subject: Slavery > Political aspects > United States > History > 18th century.
Liberty > Political aspects > United States > History > 18th century.
African Americans > History > 18th century.
United States > Politics and government > 1775-1783.
United States > Politics and government > To 1775.
United States > History > Revolution, 1775-1783 > Influence.

Available copies

  • 2 of 3 copies available at Kenton County.


  • 0 current holds with 3 total copies.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Covington Branch 973.3 L334a 2023 (Text) 33126025322664 New Adult Nonfiction Available -
Erlanger Branch 973.3 L334a 2023 (Text) 33126025322680 New Adult Nonfiction Checked out 06/20/2023
Wm. E. Durr Branch 973.3 L334a 2023 (Text) 33126025322672 New Adult Nonfiction Available -

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