What You Will Learn in This e-Course
What follows is a quick overview of the course. The purpose of the course is to provide a historical and legal foundation for understanding the roots of racial hierarchy in the United States.
GOAL- Develop a general understanding of the social context preceding the first use of “white people” to reference a group of humanity in law.
Day one of the mini course sets the stage for the history and law that unfolds to reveal the use and assertion of the human category called “white people.” Here, the social context of Colonial Virginia and Maryland during the first three quarters of the 17th Century takes center stage. The economic interests and social strains within these colonies shed light on a 1664 law that restricts who a British or other freeborn woman can marry.
GOAL- Understand the social context that gave rise to a massive rebellion against the ruling elite.
Day two of the mini course looks into the pressures and frustrations that gave rise to a rebellion that would change everything. Bacon’s Rebellion united indentured servants, slaves, freedmen from Africa, Brittan, and Europe posing a threat to the British colonies.
GOAL- Understand how, when and why lawmakers created the human category “white people” in law.
Day three of the mini course shines a spotlight on the response of lawmakers to Bacon’s Rebellion and the new human category imposed to serve their interests. Furthermore, the meanings assigned to the new category called “white people” are examined in Post-Bacon’s Rebellion laws
GOAL- Understand how the new legal strategy transformed colonial society.
Day four of the mini course examines how Post-Bacon’s Rebellion laws transformed colonial society laws by creating a new and much lower bottom to society and by
Connecting white laborers with the ruling elite through a presumption of superiority rooted in a shared status called “white.”
GOAL- Understand how “white people” were institutionalized as a matter of foundational U.S. law and conferred unearned advantage.
In the final day of the mini course, we explore law created by the nation’s founders that conferred advantage upon white people and consider ways in which this foundational law shaped the lives of those rendered white and not white in the new Republic called the United States of America.