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Black and White ManhattanThe History of Racial Formation in Colonial New York City$
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Thelma Wills Foote

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195165371

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195165371.001.0001

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“The Most Natural View of the Whole”

“The Most Natural View of the Whole”

Discovering the “Plot of 1741–42” and the Discursive Construction of the “Dangerous Other” in the Colonialist Discourse of Conspiracy

(p.159) 5 “The Most Natural View of the Whole”
Black and White Manhattan


Oxford University Press

This chapter reveals that, by the 1740s, interracial socializing among colonial New York City's subaltern population of enslaved blacks, propertyless white servants, and transients troubled ruling elite and its binary racial division of society. It explains that with the additional threat of an impending Spanish invasion, the aggravation of an unsolved crime wave, and the outbreak of a mysterious rash of fire during the winter of 1741-42, fear of the city's dangerous classes crystallized in the discovery of the “plot of 1741-42,” an alleged conspiracy among enslaved blacks and several white outsiders accused of plotting together in secret to overthrow English rule, murder the city's white male settler population, enslave white females in harems, and establish a “Negro regime” under the protection of Catholic Spain.

Keywords:   plot of 1741-42, New York City, Spain, fire, winter, Negro regime, conspiracy, black people, white people

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