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Although this piece appears to have been written by an African American, it was much more likely anonymously composed by a white Federalist, complete with a stereotyped version of African American speech. In 1801 when this piece appeared in the Greenfield Gazette and Isaiah Thomas's Massachusetts Spy, the Federalists feared that President Thomas Jefferson wanted to level society to the point where African Americans would be on an equal par with whites in all ways. They remembered Jefferson's, in their minds, overly enthusiastic support of the French during their revolution. Although Federalists may have agreed that Blacks deserved more freedoms, they believed that Jefferson supported a complete leveling of society that went well beyond what they saw as reasonable. These attitudes are revealed in this satire. The fact that this creator chose an African American voice through which to speak is a telling indicator of white northern perceptions of African Americans in this period.


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Article by Pompey on President Jefferson in the Greenfield Gazette reprinted from the Massachusetts Spy newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Gazette
creator   Pompey
date   May 4, 1801
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   6.5"
width   3.75"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L12.007

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See Also...

Toasts for Independence

Article published in letter form to Benjamin Banneker from Thomas Jefferson in the Greenfield Gazette newspaper

Letter printed in article form to Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Banneker in the Greenfield Gazette newspaper

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