The struggle for slavery emancipation involved various parties whosetireless efforts paved the way for the freedom. To wangle theattention of the Congress, slaves used petitions to bargain forbetter treatment. Four of the petitions authored by slaves werepopular since they represented most of the problems they endured.
On 20th January 1773, Peter Bestes and others petitioned theHonorable House to grant them civil and religious liberties (Zinn55). In 1971, the Bill of Rights restricted the Congress from makingany law restricting the free exercise of religion. The slaves alsocomplained that they were treated inhumanely in a religious countrythat upheld freedom. In the petition, they also mentioned theirdesire to go back to Africa, a land they described as populous andplentiful (Zinn 55). On 25th May 1774, a group of blacks wrote toThomas Gauge indicating that they had a natural right to freedom(Zinn 56). They also expressed their dissatisfaction with theenslavement of their children and deprivation of the things thatcould make their lives tolerable.
On 6th January 1776, Felix wrote to the honorable house agitatingfor the need to have slaves tried in public for any crimes committed(Zinn 54). In addition, he observed that slaves could not ownproperty, and they could not share the national cake in suchcircumstances.On 33rd January 1777, the Negroes in Massachusettspled with the court to consider their children free after attaining21 years (Zinn 57). However, in 1777, the declaration ofConfederation denied fugitives and vagabonds the liberties freecitizens enjoyed. Felix’s plea was later reflected in the bill ofhuman rights of 1791 that required all trials to be made public.
Conclusively, the bill of rights addressed some of the issuespresented in the petitions. It captured the right of religion andcongregation. However, the declaration of Confederation outlined thatthe fugitives were not entitled to the liberties. It seems that whenone part of the law was granting liberties, another part was liftingthem.
Zinn, Howard, andAnthony Arnove. Voices of a People`s History of the United States.New York: Seven Stories Press, 2004. Print.