member of a small party sent by Congress to try to attract Canada into an alliance against England.20
Other non-Protestants also tookpart. Thus Haym Salomon, a Jewish immigrant from Poland who gravitated to the militant Sons of Liberty, came to be known as 'freedom's financier'. Jews at the time lacked rabbinical presence in the colonies, and were on their own in the few synagogues. Salomon helped found one in Philadelphia in 1783. So far as can be known, Jews drew on the prophetic Jewish tradition to call for liberty and independence.
Not prominent, at least as articulators, on the revolutionary stage and not reasonably liberated in the constitution-making period were three sets of people. First were members of that half of the population who were women. They were not enfranchised, and did not have a clerical voice in the male-dominated established or in most dissenting churches. There were some prominent individuals among them. We might take special note of Abigail Adams, wife of the lawyer and later the second President, John Adams. She revealed a consistent support of the cause of independence and nation-building. Some diaries and observations by others show that many of them participated by supporting and tending to the wounds of fighting men, providing food for revolutionary forces, and helping sustain them in prayer. A century and a half would pass before they could express their liberation by access to the voting booth.
A second set of people were the Native Americans, the Indians, many of whom had sided with the French in the recently prosecuted colonial wars. They had been displaced for more than a century by the east coast immigrants, decimated in wars with whites, devastated by diseases that came with the immigrants, and displaced to the frontiers to which whites were moving in this period. When the founders drafted the Constitution, the original population was classified as a set of foreign powers. This was not their war, their victory, or their nation with the benefits it could have provided. In the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 the authors stipulated that 'the utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and in their property, rights and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress'. The nation kept no part of this 'utmost good faith'.21
Similarly, a third set of people, the African blacks in America, received no liberties as a result of the Revolution and fabrication of a Constitution. In order to win power, southern colonists wanted to boast large populations for the sake of representation, so they counted Africans in those numberings. But blacks were each valued as only three-fifths of a human in the count and, frankly, were usually treated as far less than three-fifths of a human in their
Was this article helpful?