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"Uncertain Americans: The slippery status of African" Topic


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Tango0105 Nov 2020 9:01 p.m. PST

… American soldiers and civilians


"In June 1807, the United States and Great Britain appeared on the verge of conflict: After the frigate Leopard fired on the US warship Chesapeake, British sailors boarded the American vessel, mustered the crew, and impressed four black seamen—Jenkins Ratford, William Ware, Daniel Martin, and John Strachan—whom they claimed were deserters. The damaged Chesapeake limped back to Norfolk with three dead and 18 wounded.

The Chesapeake-Leopard affair represented one of the most demeaning episodes in the early history of the United States. Associated with events that caused the second Anglo-American war, this affair involved the act of boarding a neutral ship and forcing sailors to serve aboard British warships, both thorny diplomatic issues that divided the two countries well into the 1800s. Even more significant, three of the four impressed sailors—Martin, Strachan, and Ware—were black men, and all claimed to be Americans who had been impressed. During the debates and protests that followed, race did not figure into the national dialogue. Nonetheless, it remained central in this episode and in the history of the War of 1812…"
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