HST296a: Community in Early America, Prof. J. Carr
Essay 2: April 4, 2005
Hope Greenberg

Idea of Community, Communities of Ideas

When the British tightened their control on the city of Boston in 1774, they did so in a city that was already in decline. While the other port cities of Philadelphia and New York had seen increased population growth throughout the 18th century, Boston's population actually declined after 1740. The spring of 1775, under occupation by the British, saw the trickle turn into a flood as over 10,000 Bostonians--some two thirds of the population--fled.

- start with British occupation in both cities, how does that highlight community/how does it not (black become Brits soldiers) then work backward and forward from there

Whatever the earlier relationship between colonists and the Bristish, during an occupation the British army was certainly a them not us

In negotiating the dividing line between occupier and occupied, colonists also redefined community. where do slaves fit in?

Phial. symbolizes freedom so even before blacks get there they are building a virtual community in their anticipation

One of the things whites have been able to do in America is move on if they are not succeeding in a particular place. For blacks, with the constant threat of kidnapping/reselling into slavery, this option is more daunting. Thus it behopves them to make a go of building community where they are.

Did Boston see itself as a whole or as communities of wards? There was lots of migration around the city, so that would perhaps lead to them seeing it as a whole. (see Carr demographic article

End; both the Philadelphia black community and the Boston community were trying to define community for themsleves in early 19th cent. They had a sense of themselves as communties and tried to define that sense in more concrete terms (church, theatre)
For blacks in Boston (after law about non-citizens have to leave) as for black Philadelphians, their own idea of community was often circumscribed, overturned by dominant white cultures ideas.