A freedman is a former slave who has been manumitted or emancipated. The first means the freeing of an individual by the owner, often through deed or will, and sometimes by legislative petition. The second more often refers to a general freeing of a certain group within a society.

While technically freedmen may be a feature of all slave-holding societies, where some slaves are freed, the term is most associated with the history of the United States. It is used to refer to the more than four million slaves freed by the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, state legislation, and ratification of the 13th Amendment.

United States

In the United States, the term Freedmen refers chiefly to former slaves emancipated during and after the American Civil War. (Some American historians employ the term "freed person" or "freedperson" as a gender-neutral alternative.)

Slaves freed before the war, usually by individual manumissions, often in wills, were generally referred to as Free Negroes. In Louisiana and other areas of the former New France, especially before annexation to the US under the Louisiana Purchase, free people of color were so identified in French: "gens du couleur libre". Many were part of the Creoles of color community, well-established before Louisiana became part of the US. The community in New Orleans increased in 1808 and 1809, with a wave of Haitian immigrants after the Haitian Revolution. This strengthened the French-speaking community of free people of color.

Four million people went from bondage to freedom as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Although the Emancipation Proclamation stated all slaves in the southern states were in essence 'free,' the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery. Abolition of slavery was accomplished through the Thirteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment gave ex-slaves full citizenship. The Fifteenth amendment gave voting rights to adult males among the free people. The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments are known as the "civil rights amendments".

To help freedmen transition from slavery to freedom, including a free labor market, President Abraham Lincoln created the Freedmen's Bureau, which assigned agents throughout the South. The Bureau created schools to educate freedmen, both adults and children; helped freedmen negotiate labor contracts, and tried to minimize violence against freedmen. The era of Reconstruction was an attempt to establish new governments in the former Confederacy and to bring freedmen into society as voting citizens.

In the 21st century, a dispute continues between the Cherokee Nation and descendants of freedmen of Cherokee masters over the rights of the freedmen to membership (or citizenship) in the Cherokee tribe. It is an issue because of the benefits that membership grants. Descendants of freedmen believe that emancipation granted them citizenship, in their instance, citizenship in the Cherokee Nation.

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  • Freedman — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Benjamin Freedman (1890–1984), amerikanischer Industrieller und Antizionist Daniel X. Freedman (1921–1993), amerikanischer Psychologe Daniel Z. Freedman (* 1939), amerikanischer Physiker Estelle Freedman,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Freedman — Freed man, n.; pl. {Freedmen}. A man who has been a slave, and has been set free. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • freedman — manumitted slave, c.1600, from pp. of FREE (Cf. free) (adj.) + MAN (Cf. man). Also Cf. FREEMAN (Cf. freeman) …   Etymology dictionary

  • freedman — [frēd′mən] n. pl. freedmen [frēd′mən] a man legally freed from slavery or bondage …   English World dictionary

  • Freedman —  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie des personnes (réelles ou fictives) partageant un même patronyme. Benjamin Harrison Freedman (1890 1984), homme d affaires américain Dougie Freedman (1974 ), footballeur écossais James Oliver Freedman (1935 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • freedman — /freed meuhn/, n., pl. freedmen. a man who has been freed from slavery. [1595 1605; FREED + MAN1] * * * ▪ labour       former slave set free. In ancient Athens, former slaves bore no stigma, and some rose to positions of political or economic… …   Universalium

  • freedman — /ˈfridmæn/ (say freedman) noun (plural freedmen) a man who has been freed from slavery. –freedwoman, noun …   Australian English dictionary

  • freedman — noun Date: 1591 a person freed from slavery …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • freedman — noun A person who has been released from a condition of slavery …   Wiktionary

  • freedman — freed·man || frɪːdmÉ™n n. slave who has been given his freedom …   English contemporary dictionary

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