Law, Culture and the Humanities
In the years before the Missouri Compromise, petitioners who won their freedom suits based upon their ancestral links to white women, with land, could participate in thebody politic. However, as Maryland legislators began to identify with the plantation south, they invented a legal understanding that would deny ambiguously freed blacks freedom, and justices would re-invent proslavery jurispudence, using the attachment clause, which would remand the previously freed into a status worse than before they had petitioned the court. Those who were freed and could claim citizenship in the years immediately after the American Revolution, by 1810, case law had changed and they lost many of their rights they once held. By using a slave state like Maryland as a microcosm, this research hopes to show the gradual way African Americans were not only denied claims to legal protections but, were deprived of their rightful place as agents in this new democratic experiment.
Copyright © 2016, Sage Journals
Reid, Patricia A., "The Legal Construction of Whiteness and Citizenship in Maryland, 1780–1820" (2016). History Faculty Publications. 117.