Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Julie P Winch

Second Advisor

Conevery Bolton Valencius

Third Advisor

Roberta Wollons


The end of the Revolutionary War proved to be a significant moment in United States history. Not only did it signal the birth of a new nation, but it also affected the institution of slavery. Wartime rhetoric such as "All men are created equal," left the future of American slavery in doubt. Northern and mid-Atlantic states began to implement emancipation plans, and the question of what to do with free blacks became a pressing one. It soon became apparent that free blacks would not be given the same rights as white Americans, and the desire to have blacks removed from society began to increase. One proposed solution to this problem was the idea of sending free and manumitted slaves to Africa. A man by the name of John Brown Russwurm (1799-1851) would play a prominent role in the colonization movement, and his life and legacy reflect the controversy surrounding the idea of colonization.