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The Wheatleyan Moment

The Wheatleyan Moment Abstract: Despite the recent profusion of interest in Phillis Wheatley by literary scholars, who increasingly recognize her artfulness and her challenge to slavery, she has not been seen as a political actor in her own time. This essay argues for her canny timing and careful interventions in the politics of slavery from 1772 to 1784. The "Mansfieldian moment" in the politics of slavery can also be called a Wheatleyan moment, when leading whites were forced to respond to the art and politics of slaves and their allies. Wheatley garnered specific and consequential responses from Lord Dartmouth, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. A more interactive approach to the politics of slavery explains much about Wheatley's strategies as well as the range of specific responses to antislavery among participants in the American Revolution—responses that cannot be ascribed merely to racism or the lack thereof. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal University of Pennsylvania Press

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Pennsylvania Press
ISSN
1559-0895
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: Despite the recent profusion of interest in Phillis Wheatley by literary scholars, who increasingly recognize her artfulness and her challenge to slavery, she has not been seen as a political actor in her own time. This essay argues for her canny timing and careful interventions in the politics of slavery from 1772 to 1784. The "Mansfieldian moment" in the politics of slavery can also be called a Wheatleyan moment, when leading whites were forced to respond to the art and politics of slaves and their allies. Wheatley garnered specific and consequential responses from Lord Dartmouth, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. A more interactive approach to the politics of slavery explains much about Wheatley's strategies as well as the range of specific responses to antislavery among participants in the American Revolution—responses that cannot be ascribed merely to racism or the lack thereof.

Journal

Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary JournalUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Aug 10, 2011

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