Petition signed by John Cuffe and Paul Cuffe regarding taxation

  • Image for Petition signed by John Cuffe and Paul Cuffe regarding taxation
  • Image for Petition signed by John Cuffe and Paul Cuffe regarding taxation
2 images
Written by
Unidentified
Signed by
Cuffe, John, American, 1752 - 1836
Cuffe, Paul, American, 1759 - 1817
Medium
ink on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 8 1/2 × 8 in. (21.6 × 20.3 cm)
Type
petitions
Place made
Taunton, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States, North and Central America
Date
December 19, 1780
Caption
Paul Cuffe was born a free man in Massachusetts. His mother was Native American and his father was of West African Ashanti lineage. An entrepreneur and philanthropist, Cuffe gained wealth as owner of an international shipping company. Despite his success, as an African American he was viewed as a second-class citizen and denied equal rights. As a taxpayer, Paul Cuffe petitioned the Massachusetts legislature in 1780 and demanded his right to vote. Free and enslaved African Americans petitioned for freedom, equality, and justice through the courts and state legislatures. They sought to assert their rights, promote their identity as citizens of the new nation, and challenge their status as enslaved people.
Source: Nancy Bercaw, Curator, Slavery and Freedom
Description
A petition to the court of Bristol County, Massachusetts, in Taunton written by an unidentified hand and signed by John Cuffe and Paul Cuffe. The text is handwritten in black ink on the front and back sides of the same sheet of paper. The petition is in regards to taxation by the state upon the signatories, who are of Indian descent and are arguing they are therefore not subject to such taxation.
Topic
African American
Free communities of color
Government
Justice
Law
Resistance
Suffrage
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number
2009.26.1
Restrictions & Rights
Public Domain
See more items in
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Classification
Slavery and Freedom Objects
Documents and Published Materials-Business and Legal Documents
Exhibition
Slavery and Freedom
On View
NMAAHC (1400 Constitution Ave NW), National Mall Location, Concourse 3, C3 053
Data Source
National Museum of African American History and Culture