The filmmakers chose to distance their main character Benjamin Martin from the issue of slavery and gave him black employees, rather than slaves on his farm. Occam serves as the 'token' slave in the film.
While Benjamin is recruiting old Indian fighters, his owner volunteers Occam to the militia to fight in his stead. Benjamin asks Occam himself to 'make his mark, if he is willing' in the roster even over the objections of his master. Even so, with his master looking on, it is a token gesture since it is unlikely that Occam would be in a position to refuse. Occam's reaction to Benjamin's request doesn't clear the air either. He looks to his master then with a look of reluctance, rather than growing confidence, makes his mark. Benjamin's insistance that he sign himself does nothing but further undermine any future defense that Occam might have for not wanting to fight with the Patriots.
During the course of the film, Occam has to deal with racism in the form of farmer Dan Scott who expresses disgust when he reads General George Washington's petition that offers freedom to any slave that serves for 12 months in the Continental Army. Occam dreams of freedom. He also talks with Gabriel, who speaks of equality for all men under God and in some blatant foreshadowing, Occam questions whether that principle will be as broadly applied as Gabriel believes.
During the final battle of the movie, Dan Scott mends his ways by telling Occam he was honored to serve with him after Occam has stayed on past his twelve months, thus showing that Occam himself felt drawn to the cause. In the final scene of the movie, Dan and Occam are working side by side helping others rebuild the Martin farmhouse.
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