World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Freedmen

For people named Freedman, see Friedman.
Not to be confused with The Freed Man or Freeman.

A freedman is a former slave who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means. Historically, slaves became freedmen either by manumission (granted freedom by their owner) or emancipation (granted freedom as part of a larger group). A fugitive slave is one who escaped slavery by fleeing.

Ancient Rome


Rome differed from Greek city-states in allowing freed slaves to become citizens. The act of freeing a slave was called manumissio, from manus, "hand" (in the sense of holding or possessing something), and missio, the act of releasing. After manumission, a slave who had belonged to a Roman citizen enjoyed not only passive freedom from ownership, but active political freedom (libertas), including the right to vote.[1] A slave who had acquired libertas was thus a libertus ("freed person," feminine liberta) in relation to his former master, who then became his patron (patronus).

As a social class, freed slaves were liberti, though later Latin texts used the terms libertus and libertini interchangeably.[2] Libertini were not entitled to hold public office or state priesthoods, nor could they achieve legitimate senatorial rank. During the early Empire, however, freedmen held key positions in the government bureaucracy, so much so that Hadrian limited their participation by law.[3] Any future children of a freedman would be born free, with full rights of citizenship.

The Claudian Civil Service set a precedent whereby freedmen could be used as civil servants in the Roman bureaucracy. In addition, Claudius passed legislation concerning slaves, including a law stating that sick slaves abandoned by their owners became freedmen if they recovered. The emperor was criticized for using freedmen in the Imperial Courts.

Some freedmen enjoyed enormous success and became quite wealthy. The brothers who owned House of the Vettii, one of the biggest and most magnificent houses in Pompeii, are thought to have been freedmen. A freedman who became rich and influential might still be looked down on by the traditional aristocracy as a vulgar nouveau riche. Trimalchio, a character in the Satyricon of Petronius, is a caricature of such a freedman.

United States

Main articles: Free negro and Free people of color

In the United States, the term "freedmen" refers chiefly to former slaves emancipated during the American Civil War.

Slaves freed before the war, usually by individual manumissions, often in wills, were generally referred to as "Free Negroes". In Louisiana and other areas of the former New France (especially before annexation to the US under the Louisiana Purchase), free people of color were so identified in French: gens de couleur libres. Many were part of the Creoles of color community, well-established before Louisiana became part of the US. The community in New Orleans increased in 1808 and 1809, with a wave of Haitian immigrants after the Haitian Revolution. This strengthened the French-speaking community of free people of color.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation declared all slaves in states not under the control of the United States of America to be free (e.g. the Confederacy), it did not end slavery in the Union states. Abolition of all slavery (affecting four million people—not all of them of color) was accomplished as a result of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment gave ex-slaves full citizenship. The Fifteenth Amendment gave voting rights to adult males among the free people. The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments are known as the "civil rights amendments", the "post-Civil War amendments", and the "Reconstruction Amendments".

To help freedmen transition from slavery to freedom, including a free labor market, President Abraham Lincoln created the Freedmen's Bureau, which assigned agents throughout the South. The Bureau created schools to educate freedmen, both adults and children; helped freedmen negotiate labor contracts, and tried to minimize violence against freedmen. The era of Reconstruction was an attempt to establish new governments in the former Confederacy and to bring freedmen into society as voting citizens.

Cherokee Freedmen

Main article: Cherokee Freedmen

The Cherokee Nation had allowed slavery before the war. After emancipation, the Cherokee were required to allow freedmen full rights of citizenship in their society. This policy was later rescinded, resulting in a controversy within the modern Cherokee Nation, which still continues. In the 21st century, the Cherokee Nation and descendants of freedmen of Cherokee masters are at odds over the rights of the freedmen to membership in the Cherokee tribes. (It is an issue because there are benefits that tribal membership grants.) Descendants of freedmen believe that emancipation granted them citizenship in the Cherokee Nation.

See also

References

fr:Affranchissement#Rome antique
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.