General History/war for independence
When the war for independence, the American revolution began, what was the policy of the leadership on the use of African American troops. did their policy differ according to whether a person was enslaved or a free African American.
I am not specifically familiar with this issue in the American Revolution, but I am familiar with some of the same questions that came up in the Civil War. In the War for Independence, military units were raised by the colonies and states, not the national government. The Second Continental Congress could only ask the colonies, and after July 4, 1776, the states, for troops. The colonies/states did the actual recruiting and organizing of units.
The South would have been adamantly opposed to any service by African Americans. Slaves were not allowed to learn how to handle guns out of fear they would turn them against their masters. It is morally difficult for a government to deny citizenship and all of the rights and privileges thereof to someone who has borne arms in defense of that government. Even if the slaves were not given full citizenship in exchange for their service, they would have to be given some incentive to fight. Most white southerners would have been opposed to giving African Americans any status or reward. Southern society was based on the assumption that African Americans would always been on the bottom of the social pyramid, and anything that might elevate African Americans was a threat to the established social order.
If northern colonies or states ever considered enlisting African Americans, the Southern congressional delegates would have put a stop to it. In the 1700s, the North did not feel so strongly on the civil rights issue that they would have argued with the South over it. National unity and consensus were much more important to northern congressional delegates.
Hope this helps, C.M.