The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832

The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832

Alan Taylor


Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for History

"Impressively researched and wonderfully crafted…a amazing account of slavery in Virginia in the course of and after the Revolution." ―Mark M. Smith, Wall highway Journal

Frederick Douglass recalled that slaves residing alongside Chesapeake Bay longingly seen crusing ships as "freedom’s swift-winged angels." In 1813 these angels seemed within the bay as British warships coming to punish the americans for stating warfare at the empire. Over many nights, enormous quantities of slaves paddled out to the warships looking safeguard for his or her households from the ravages of slavery. The runaways harassed the British admirals into turning into liberators. As courses, pilots, sailors, and marines, the previous slaves used their intimate wisdom of the nation-state to rework the conflict. They enabled the British to increase their onshore assaults and to catch and burn Washington, D.C. Tidewater masters had lengthy dreaded their slaves as "an inner enemy." via mobilizing that enemy, the battle ignited the private fears of Chesapeake slaveholders. It additionally alienated Virginians from a countrywide executive that had overlooked their safety. as an alternative they grew to become south, their pursuits aligning a growing number of with their part. In 1820 Thomas Jefferson saw of sectionalism: "Like a firebell within the evening [it] woke up and crammed me with terror. I thought of it straight away the knell of the union." The notes of alarm in Jefferson's remark communicate of the terror aroused by means of the new trouble over slavery in his domestic country. His imaginative and prescient of a cataclysm to come back proved prescient. Jefferson's startling commentary registered a flip within the nation’s direction, a pivot from the nationwide goal of the founding towards the specter of disunion. Drawn from new resources, Alan Taylor's riveting narrative re-creates the occasions that encouraged black Virginians, haunted slaveholders, and set the kingdom on a brand new and hazardous direction. 35 illustrations; four maps

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