Essay Reading and Evaluation

In 1749, Johanna Boston who lived in northeastern Pennsylvania ran away. Miraculously, she not only succeeded in finding her freedom, but the cast of characters involved in her story involved radical communitarian Moravians, a Mohican man and his Indigenous wife from somewhere in the southeast, Swedes, Germans, and people born in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, as well as a man born in Africa. In 1749 this portion of Pennsylvania was still the colonial frontier, and was as diverse as any portion of the thirteen colonies. This story is little told in history books, but it does get at a number of themes we have discussed including levels of freedom, early abolitionists, the action of enslaved people to find their own freedom, the threat of conflicts on the frontier, gender, environment, and the role of Indigenous people in US history. In this essay, I am going to ask you to evaluate this story. In the first paragraph, I want you to address some of the variables that Johanna was likely counting on. Why is it so important that the communities around her were Moravian? What was unique about this religion, these people’s diversity, that might have caused her to think she could be successful where so many people in other places failed? In paragraph two, I want you to address why you think the Indigenous couple went out of their way to help Johanna. We have talked about during the King Philip’s War lecture how Christian Indians were especially precarious. Klepp does not have a specific theory for this, so try to use some of what she says about these two people, and their history, to propose one yourself. Finally, in the last paragraph I want you to tie Johanna’s journey, and the Moravian support, to Klepp’s broader argument about slavery towards the end of the colonial period. Connect a couple of these themes (you will not be able to address all of them in a single paragraph): what do her actions tell us about gender, enslaved people, and their activity as anti-slavery/abolitionist activists? How does the frontier play a role in loosening colonial laws? What can Moravians tell us about the diversity of ideas of property during the colonial period? This essay should be no more than 1 PAGE, Times New Roman Font, double spaced. When citing specific pages simply put the page number in parenthesis. DO NOT go over 1 page.

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