Rebellion 1858     
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Joshua Reed Giddings, by Matthew Brady
Hon. Joshua R. Giddings of Ohio, photograph taken between 1855-1864 by Matthew Brady's studio. Library of Congress.
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Ironically, at the same time that the Black Seminoles were resettling in Mexico farther than ever from the reach of American slavery, they won their greatest renown in the United States—with the publication in 1858 of Joshua Reed Giddings’ The Exiles of Florida. Giddings had just retired from the U.S. Congress after serving nine consecutive terms representing Ohio’s staunchly antislavery Western Reserve. In the 1840s he had brought the Black Seminoles to national attention through floor debates in Congress and a pamphlet exposing the Second Seminole War’s connections to slavery. His speeches on the Black Seminoles (whom he called “Exiles” after a phrase coined by Revolutionary War General Charles Lee*) were notable for exhaustive references to government documents. This spirit of research culminated in his 338-page volume tracking the Black Seminoles from their origins before the American Revolution through the latest reports of their status in the 1850s.

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Sources: Giddings Exiles 4. ©
* Lee, George Washington’s second-in-command at the outset of the Revolutionary War, said that during the revolution American slaves “sought freedom among the ‘Exiles of Florida.’”
Part 4, Freedom: Outline  l Images
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 Trail Narrative
 + Prologue
 + Background: 1693-1812
 + Early Years: 1812-1832
 + War: 1832-1838
 + Exile: 1838-1850
 - Freedom: 1850-1882
+ Cost of Freedom
+ Liberty Foretold
spacer spacer Renown in Exile
The War Power
Lincoln's Choice
Black Militants
+ Liberty Found
 + Legacy & Conclusion