Unpaid Labor, George Washington, and the Revolutionary War

General George Washington was against having free blacks and slaves in the army. Even though he was against it blacks served in almost every unit of the Revolutionary Army. They served in every battle from Concord to Fort Ticonderoga to Trenton to Yorktown. Later on Washington would say the war could not have been won without black soldiers.

George Washington became General George Washington in the summer of 1775. Free blacks and black slaves had already served bravely at Lexington, Concord, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. These are places where famous battles in the war happened. Even so General Washington signed an order saying black soldiers should not be hired. That didn’t last long. It didn’t last long because thousands of blacks went to fight for the British. They did that after the British offered them freedom.

So why would General Washington oppose blacks being in the military? He opposed it because he and other slave owners were afraid. They were afraid that trained and armed slaves would rebel. They opposed it because Unpaid Labor was the source of their wealth. The British action forced them to change.

Look up the history. Ten to fifteen percent of the American soldiers in the Revolutionary War were black. They served bravely. They were honored for their service. They were part of the most integrated army in U.S. history until the war in Viet Nam. They actually fought in integrated units throughout the Revolutionary military.