In celebration of 150th Juneteenth, and with an eye to the tragedy in Charleston, we share an excerpt from David Roediger's Seizing Freedom: Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All in which Roediger chronicles Frederick Douglass's insight into the weakness of masters and the ability to anticipate revolutionary time.
"Douglass knew that slaves could be counted on to show up as opportunities for freedom arose. They showed up early, while the federal government was still toying with returning fugitives to their masters."
The workingmen of Europe feel sure that...the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy. — Karl Marx and the First International Workingmen’s Association to Abraham Lincoln, 1864
Today marks two hundred and thirty eight years on from the Declaration of Independence, penned by Thomas Jefferson and others. It was Thomas Paine's pamphlet Common Sense, published in The Rights of Man and Common Sense, which inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. In clear, simple language it explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence. The passionate cry for independence continues to this day, with the recent call for a Scottish independence.