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American Revolution and Founding Era, 1765-1800: Women, Slaves and Laborers

The Crowd

Members of the Crowd are not able to vote in elections or serve in office at this time. They divide into three subgroups: Laborers, Women, and Slaves.

Laborers

        

Laborers and the many landless, poor, young, white males in New York City: younger sons of poor farmers who have migrated in search of opportunity, day laborers, dock workers, sailors who wait for a ship in need of extra hands. All harbor great resentment against the wealthy elite, and are ready to join a mob to gain more political rights and better economic prospects. Many of these folk have joined mobs before, in land riots in the Hudson River valley and in the many protests characterizing the city's political tumult over the last ten years.

Women

       Index

Women, roughly half of the colony's population, have made critical sacrifices during the boycotts against the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts. It was women who made the substitute products to replace the goods that couldn't be imported (such as clothing); who reported merchants who raised their prices during the shortages; and who managed farms and shops (especially taverns, which are al over New York City) in the absence of men. Women's participation or refusal to participate in various proposals and actions will affect who controls New York.

Slaves

IndexSlaves composed 15 percent of New York City's population. Large landowners and merchants were the primary slave owners; slaves worked on farms and on the docks, as laborers, and as domestic servants. Slaves in Manhattan frqeuent the bars and many can read. Many have heard the rhetoric claiming that Britain is trying to enslave the colonists. Slave revolts in 1712 and 1741 and the fear thereof led to the merciless slaughter of many slaves, but in the current chaos, slaves see a chance to gain freedom and political future.