Throughout the history of organized civilization there has always been some type of social hierarchy. Within European history it was usually non-Christian’s that were subject to oppression and enslavement but as time progressed and European expansion made its way to American soil there was, “a shift in the conception of race from an ascribed identity defined by the non-biological criteria of religion and other alterable cultural traits to one defined by the biological criteria of seemingly immutable heritable traits” (Foote, pg7). In hope of preserving the social structure in revolutionary New York, the ruling elite used black slavery and anti-black racism to create a false sense of unification between themselves and the majority of the population.
I feel this argument is appropriate for the time frame. During this revolutionary period being faced with a hot blooded lower class demanding independence, the elite had to make sure commerce in their cities could continue to operate while they were at battle with their mother country. As sad as it is, the idea of superiority of race kept most New York citizens from questioning the government, furthermore safeguarding the upper class’s financial interests. Even though race has no “biological validity” (Foote, pg 8 ) it was used to legitimize the actions of many, especially the elite’s oppression against all non-white peoples.