In 1692, 150 people were accused of witchcraft in New England. Trials were held,
and nineteen people were hanged, two elderly ladies died in jail, and eighty year-old Giles Corey was pressed to death. In
this particular torture, weights were heaped on the victim's naked body until bones
started to crush. Corey endured the pressure of the weights for an agonizing two
days before he died. (I hope it's needless to add that none of these people were, in fact, witches.)
The Tuscaroras, related to the Iroquois, lived in what we now call North Carolina,
where they maintained friendly relations with the colonists. Trouble began when
the white settlers began to take advantage of the Tuscaroras, encroaching on
their farmland, cheating them in trades, and in some cases kidnapping and
selling their children into slavery. In retaliation, Tuscarora warriors, under
Chief Hancock, raided white villages in 1711. The war quickly escalated. In a
final standoff, Colonel James Moore led his men, aided by Yamasee warriors, into
the Tuscarora village of Neoheroka in 1713, killing and capturing one thousand inhabitants.
African slavery in the Americas grew at such a fast rate that, by 1750, over
200,000 African slaves were here. In some states the slaves outnumbered free
people two to one.
A slave who ran away was severely punished.
- The first time he would be whipped.
- The second time he would have an "R" branded on his right cheek.
- The third time, an "R" would be branded on his left cheek and an ear
would be cut off...
- The fourth time he would be castrated.
In 1739 a group of African slaves at the Stono River near Charleston, Carolina
rebelled and ran for the sanctuary offered in Florida (the Florida governor
promised freedom to any slave who came to his state.) The Lieutenant Governor of
Carolina rounded up a posse, surrounded the runaways, and captured and decapitated many of them. So much for
the United States support for freedom fighters.
In 1741 fires broke out in Fort George, New York. Slaves were accused of setting the fires.
Nearly every black male over 14 year of age was arrested, and the
courts ended up hanging 17 men and burning 13 men at the stake!
Olaudah Equiano was an African who was sold into slavery in the 18th century -- eventually
ending up in the US.
He later wrote a book about his experiences: detailing the horrible conditions of
the slave ship and the cruel punishments he endured. Addressing himself to the
Christians who perpetrated such deeds, he had this to say about the
separation of families by the slave traders:
Is it not enough that we are torn from our country and friends to toil for your luxury and lust of gain?
Must every tender feeling be likewise sacrificed to your avarice?
Are the dearest friends and relations, now rendered more dear by their separation
from their kindred, still to be parted from each other, and thus prevented from
cheering the gloom of slavery with the small comfort of being together and
mingling their sufferings and sorrows? Why are parents to lose their children,
brothers their sisters, or husbands their wives? Surely this is a new refinement
in cruelty, which, while it has no advantage to atone for it, thus aggravates
distress, and adds fresh horrors even to the wretchedness of slavery.
Leading a band of Virginia militia in May 1754, George Washington authorized the
bushwhacking of a small party of French in the forests of western Pennsylvania,
at a time when Britain and France were at peace! The unprovoked assault killed
the French commander, Joseph Coulon de Jumonville, who it seems had been on a
mission to parley with the British. Washington and his militia were quickly
apprehended by another French military party. In order to gain his
release, Washington signed a confession that he had murdered Jumonville. His murderous
action led to war with the French.
In 1763, Lord Jeffrey Amherst ordered that smallpox-infected blankets be distributed
to the indigenous people. They named the city of Amherst Massachusetts after this man!
By 1768, the English slave trade had a figure of 53,000 slaves a year being shipped to the North American continent. Other slave traders included the French at 23,000, the Dutch at 11,000, and the Portuguese at 8,700 slaves being transported yearly from Africa. An estimated 10 million people were torn from their homeland and shipped to the United States to slave away their lives.
In 1776 the Colonists declared their independence from Britain. Their new nation
was supposedly founded on the ideal that "all men are created equal".
However, judging from the actual application of these words, not only did they
literally mean "men" exclusively (women were denied the vote until 144 years later), they
also meant men of white European (preferably English) descent. Several prominent signers of
the declaration owned slaves, and several made statements supporting the genocide
of the indigenous people of the land where they "let freedom ring".
The founding documents, which were supposedly about freedom and equality, also
contained laws regarding slaves! Slaves were to be counted as 3/5 of a person as
far as representation was concerned (not that the slaves were in any way represented by the
white politicians). And a slave who crossed state lines was still to be returned
to his or her "owner". These laws, of course, make a mockery of the ideals
of freedom and equality.
In 1783, George Washington likened the indigenous people to wolves, "both being
beasts of prey, tho' they differ in shape."
When a revolt broke out in Pennsylvania against the national tax on whiskey — the
"Whiskey Rebellion" of 1794 — Washington responded by leading 13,000
troops into the state to crush it. So much for the myth of "freedom of dissent."
In 1798, the United States passed the Sedition Act.
It allowed the state to incarcerate anyone who criticized the president or the Congress.
It was even made a crime to criticize the Sedition Act! So much for "freedom of speech!"!
In 1799, George Washington, who owned at least a hundred African slaves, ordered
John Sullivan to attack the Iroquois and "lay waste all the settlements
around... that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed."
He also instructed him not to "listen to any overture of peace before the
total ruin of the settlements is effected."
The indigenous people called Washington "Town Destroyer", as he had
personally ordered at least 28 towns obliterated within a period of five years.
The nation's capital was named after him, and a gigantic phallus-shaped monument was
erected in his honor in that city. An entire state is named after him, along with many counties,
streets, parks, etc., throughout the USA. His birthday is a national holiday.
By the year 1800, the number of African slaves in the Americas had reached 700,000.
In South Carolina alone, African slaves outnumbered the white population, and
they made up more than one half of the populations in the states of Maryland and Virginia.
Thomas Jefferson was also a slave owner. In 1807 he told his Secretary of War how to
deal with any indigenous person who resisted the white man's western expansion: they were to meet
with "the hatchet".
And he wrote: "if ever we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe, we
will never lay it down until that tribe is exterminated, or driven beyond the
Jefferson, who is today best remembered for his writings on freedom, also wrote
that the "Indians" had a simple choice: to be "extirpated from the
Earth" or to remove themselves out of the white man's way.
A large memorial is dedicated to Jefferson in Washington, DC.