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'The Number of White Inhabitants'
From the Articles of Confederation of the United States of America


Article IX., Paragraph 7

"...to agree upon the number of land forces, and to make requisitions from each State for its quota, in proportion to the number of white inhabitants in such State; which requisition shall be binding, and therepon the legislature of each State shall appoint the regimental officers, raise the men..."

Since the 1680s in New England and the 1740s in Carolina, negroes and Indians were not permitted to serve under arms in military units, where they had done so earlier. Pennsylvania's Quaker elite resisted arming white servants against Indians who had defected to the French and were wiping out settlements, until 1754, when an Indian chief made it clear in a rousing speech in Philadelphia that his few loyal warriors could not protect the entire colony. Some of these armed servants won their freedom in the war and stayed under arms as a permanent frontier force.

After the Revolution white servant veterans from Maryland [who took heavy losses in New York covering Washington's retreat, for which he was grateful] formed a freeman's society. Servant soldiers further south were disarmed and remained liable to be called up as militia in case of slave uprisings. By the close of the French and Indian War white servants would take their master's place in the battle line, if he had not been commissioned as an officer. If readers have often wondered why men might desert the Continental Army, having volunteered, the answer is many did not volunteer, but were released from their master to serve their contract under arms.

More often than not, and in varied ways, war was a ticket to freedom for the white servant.

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