The First Emancipator: The Forgotten Story of Robert Carter, the Founding Father Who Freed His Slaves

Sampul Depan
Random House Publishing Group, 26 Apr 2005 - 336 halaman
Robert Carter III, the grandson of Tidewater legend Robert “King” Carter, was born into the highest circles of Virginia’s Colonial aristocracy. He was neighbor and kin to the Washingtons and Lees and a friend and peer to Thomas Jefferson and George Mason. But on September 5, 1791, Carter severed his ties with this glamorous elite at the stroke of a pen. In a document he called his Deed of Gift, Carter declared his intent to set free nearly five hundred slaves in the largest single act of liberation in the history of American slavery before the Emancipation Proclamation.

How did Carter succeed in the very action that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson claimed they fervently desired but were powerless to effect? And why has his name all but vanished from the annals of American history? In this haunting, brilliantly original work, Andrew Levy traces the confluence of circumstance, conviction, war, and passion that led to Carter’s extraordinary act.

At the dawn of the Revolutionary War, Carter was one of the wealthiest men in America, the owner of tens of thousands of acres of land, factories, ironworks–and hundreds of slaves. But incrementally, almost unconsciously, Carter grew to feel that what he possessed was not truly his. In an era of empty Anglican piety, Carter experienced a feverish religious visionthat impelled him to help build a church where blacks and whites were equals.

In an age of publicly sanctioned sadism against blacks, he defied convention and extended new protections and privileges to his slaves. As the war ended and his fortunes declined, Carter dedicated himself even more fiercely to liberty, clashing repeatedly with his neighbors, his friends, government officials, and, most poignantly, his own family.

But Carter was not the only humane master, nor the sole partisan of freedom, in that freedom-loving age. Why did this troubled, spiritually torn man dare to do what far more visionary slave owners only dreamed of? In answering this question, Andrew Levy teases out the very texture of Carter’s life and soul–the unspoken passions that divided him from others of his class, and the religious conversion that enabled him to see his black slaves in a new light.

Drawing on years of painstaking research, written with grace and fire, The First Emancipator is a portrait of an unsung hero who has finally won his place in American history. It is an astonishing, challenging, and ultimately inspiring book.

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Ulasan Pengguna  - HistReader - LibraryThing

In the past I have provided three-star ratings for other books simply based primarily on research; that is why I do so for The First Emancipator. There is no lack of information offered by Andrew Levy ... Baca ulasan lengkap

The first emancipator: the forgotten story of Robert Carter, the founding father who freed his slaves

Ulasan Pengguna  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Levy (The Culture and Commerce of the American Short Story ) examines the unique life of Robert Carter III, one of the wealthiest men in 18th-century America, and his monumental "Deed of Gift." This ... Baca ulasan lengkap

Halaman terpilih

Isi

King of America 1728 1768
3
Dance or Die 1768 1974
33
Heavenly Confusion 17741778
65
Inglorious Connexions 1778 1989
97
Deed of Gift 189 1804
136
CONCLUSION Plans and Advice
174
Acknowledgments
197
Notes
215
Index
297
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Halaman 174 - ... and extraordinary. If a man is inflamed and carried away by his thought, to that degree that he forgets the authors and the public, and heeds only this one dream, which holds him like an insanity, let me read his paper, and you may have all the arguments and histories and criticism. All the value which attaches to Pythagoras, Paracelsus, Cornelius, Agrippa, Cardan, Kepler, Swedenborg, Schelling...
Halaman vii - In song and exhortation swelled one refrain — Liberty; in his tears and curses the God he implored had Freedom in his right hand. At last it came — suddenly, fearfully, like a dream. With one wild carnival of blood and passion came the message in his own plaintive cadences: Shout, O children! Shout, you're free! For God has bought your liberty!
Halaman 89 - Oh that I knew where I might find him ! that I might come even to his seat ! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.
Halaman 20 - Treason, treason!" echoed from every part of the house. Henry faltered not for an instant, but, taking a loftier attitude, and fixing on the speaker an eye of fire, he added " may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it...
Halaman 220 - Edmund S. Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia (New York: WW Norton & Company, 1975); Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982). 21. Joan W. Scott, "The Evidence of Experience," Critical Inquiry 17 (Summer 1991): 776.
Halaman 245 - That religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence ; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience ; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity towards each other.
Halaman 227 - I well remember the cry of treason, the pause of Mr. Henry at the name of George the III., and the presence of mind with which he closed his sentence, and baffled the charge vociferated.
Halaman 144 - I have for some time past been convinced that to retain them in Slavery is contrary to the true principles of Religion and Justice and therefore it is my duty to manumit them.
Halaman 124 - I say, the time has been when every pulse of my heart beat for American liberty, and which, I believe, had a counterpart in the breast of every true American.
Halaman 18 - The public or political character of the Virginians corresponds with their private one: they are haughty and jealous of their liberties, impatient of restraint, and can scarcely bear the thought of being controuled by any superior power.

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Tentang pengarang (2005)

ANDREW LEVY was born in Mount Holly, New Jersey, in 1962. He received an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars in 1986 and a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. Levy has published essays in Harper’s, Dissent, and The American Scholar, book reviews in the Chicago Tribune and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and has written or co-edited several books on American literature and writing. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Siobhan, and their son, Aedan, and is currently Cooper Chair at Butler University.

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