The abolishment of slavery has never made America Exceptional because the systematic oppression of African Americans occurred for decades after they were freed. American Exceptionalism is the belief that Americans are superior because the United States follows a different set of laws and norms that govern other countries. Supposedly, these differences account for the freedom that Americans have, which other countries lack. However, not all Americans have had been able to practice this freedom, such as African Americans. Even though slavery was abolished, African Americans never received the same rights as other Americans for decades. Even after receiving the same rights, African Americans were still oppressed. A country that can not guarantee the same rights to everyone is not exceptional.
Slavery was abolished in 1865 by President Abraham Lincoln. However, the ending of slavery did not mean that African Americans would be seen as equal. After slavery ended, many southern states instituted laws known as Black Codes and other laws meant to segregate the population. Black codes limited the freedom of former slaves and other African Americans by preventing African Americans from doing certain things, such as serving in juries, the army, testifying against the white population, and attending certain schools. These laws forced African Americans into jobs revolving around manual labor, such as sharecropping. Sharecroppers had to rent land from ex-slave owners and give a
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Civil rights movements remained prevalent long after Reconstruction and continue to this day. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution were introduced during this era. The 13th Amendment, ratified in 1865, abolished slavery. African American slaves, who were mostly from the South, were recognized as free men and no longer property of their slave owners. Despite being free, the former slaves did not enjoy many of the benefits of being an American. They were prohibited from owning land and from voting because they were not citizens. Additionally, freedmen had unfair wages and the unemployed were at risk of being arrested and fined. Meanwhile, former slave owners retained their huge plantations but no longer had a labor force to farm the land. This desperate situation resulted in a system called sharecropping, where the plantation owner divided their land and shared it with freedmen. The plantation owner was the landlord and the sharecroppers were the tenants. Quite often the freedmen returned to their former masters and worked as their sharecroppers, some poor whites also became sharecroppers. The
The aftermath of the civil war left the U.S in a terrible position; thus calling for the dawning of the Reconstruction era. The idea of Reconstruction was brought up by Pres. Abe Lincoln, but it was brought out by Andrew Johnson after President Lincoln was assassinated. The hopes for former slaves was lifted when the 13th-15th amendments were established and many rights for black men were created. While Southern state governments abolished slavery, they did nothing to alter the status of freedmen and women; to show, the rights once held by former slaves were taken away from them. Black men could not vote, they could not own property, and they were forced into sharecropping, which made debt highly likely. Slavery was still punishment for crimes, but the biggest punishment for crimes committed by blacks was lynching.
After the Civil War, the southern whites were extremely resentful and bitter. In 1865 the southern states began issuing “black codes,” which were laws made subsequent to the Civil War that had the effect of limiting the civil rights and civil liberties of blacks. This term tends to refer to the legislation passed by southern states to control the labor, migration, and other activities of newly freed slaves. When the slaves were freed, they still had
The Union Victory in the Civil War in 1865 granted freedom to approximately 4 million slaves, however, the process of rebuilding the South during the Reconstruction period 1865-1877 brought a lot of challenges. In 1865 and 1866 under the supervision of President Andrew Johnson, new Southern state legislatives passed the “black codes” to control the labor and behavior of former slaves and other African Americans. During the Radical Reconstruction in 1869, new enfranchised blacks had a voice in the government for the first time in
With the Union victory in the Civil War in 1865, millions of slaves were given their freedom. Although these millions of slaves are now free, the rebuilding on the South during the Reconstruction introduced many obstacles. These obstacles include sharecropping, tenant farming, the “black codes”, and not to forget the lack of education and rights African Americans had at the time. Sharecropping is consisted of a slave renting land from a white man and having to give up a portion of their crops at the end of each year. The black codes were basically laws against what type of labor African Americans can be given. In the state of South Carolina, blacks were only able to work as farmers or servants; the same jobs these free people worked as slaves. After decades of slavery, blacks were still under the control of the white people due to lack of education and rights.
At the end of the Civil War slavery was outlawed by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the blacks was finally free. In the South there was a sense of anger and shame in losing the war. The Reconstruction era was put into effect by Congress in 1866 and lasted until 1877. Reconstruction was aimed at reorganizing the Southern states after the Civil War. The reconstruction plan granted the means for readmitting the southern states into the Union, and tried to come up with the methods by which whites and blacks could live together in a non-slave society. However during reconstruction the United States government took actions to protect freedman and with each action the south countered with actions that would try to eradicate the laws put in place by the winning northern forces for example, the infamous Jim Crow Laws. The law segregated the whites and the blacks, thus can be commonly heard as “separate is not equal.” The Reconstruction was still seen as a success towards the United States as a whole in many ways as it unified the nations.
The first American slaves were brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. Their job was to aid in the production of crops such as tobacco as the Virginians “were desperate for labor, to grow enough to stay alive… needed labor, to grow corn for subsistence, to grow tobacco for export” (Zinn 24,25). The slaves that were being brought to the Americas were seen as builders of the economic foundations of the new nation and as time passed the ownership of slaves dwindled but inequality and segregation grew to be more prevalent in the U.S (“Slavery in America”). On January 1st, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order which freed slaves in the United States not within the Confederacy, under Union Control. Two years later the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution which abolished slavery but many Southern States managed to create unattainable prerequisites for blacks to live, work or participate in society. With nearly one hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation, African-Americans were still treated just as unequally. Oppression, race-inspired violence, segregation and an unequal world of disenfranchisement lingered across Southern States for African-Americans. The Jim Crow Laws
African Americans have endured many trials and tribulations over the centuries. Our people have suffered from war, violence, and anguish simply because of the color of our skin. Our history has been so blatantly missing from textbooks and the K-12th grade educational atmosphere. Our educational system continues to neglect the history of our African American ancestors and fail to provide them with the educational resources to inform them of our past and allow them to learn about the true origins of our culture. We have made many significant contributions to the world but those have also been highly ignored as well.
Former slaves were not allowed any weapons or access to the town, among other things. The codes stretched the law enough so that African-Americans were even forced to be “in the service of some white person or former owner”, and could not do many things without their express permission. (Document B) These laws were put into place by white men, dependent on the African-American’s continued labor for their farms and plantations to thrive. As the slave trade had greatly enhanced the economy of the South, white landowners were not eager to give up the majority of their workforce. Although legally, former slaves were considered free, the black codes forced them to stay in place and obey unfair laws. Without the word slavery ever mentioned, the black codes represented much of the South’s attitude towards African-Americans, destroying their personal rights as
After the Civil War, reconstruction was considered unsuccessful because it did not help the ethnic tensions between black and white people. Although, black people were free from slavery with the help of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendment; they still were being treated unfairly against white people. When Andrew Johnson was elected president after the assassination of Lincoln, he vetoed bills that would help black people; he made it easy for the Confederate states to come back into the Union without guaranteeing the equal rights to blacks. Andrew Johnson allowed the returning southern states to enact “black codes”, which made the freed slaves like serfs, working on plantations and forced with hard labor. For instance, Mississippi
In 1865, the American government successfully passed the thirteenth amendment: ending the institution of slavery in America. “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The thirteenth amendment opened up economic opportunity for African Americans as slaves were no longer owned by someone else. However, not long after the thirteenth amendment was passed, former slaveholders and southerners created the black codes. Black Codes were a set of laws intended to restrict African American freedoms, causing them to go into low wage labor. A black code passed in the state of South Carolina stated, “To do farm work, a black in South Carolina had to have a written contract, attested to by white witnesses; failure to obtain one before commencing to work was a misdemeanor
Originating in the southern states of Mississippi and South Carolina, the first Black codes were passed in 1865. When the Civil War ended on May 9, 1865, it granted over four million southern African American slaves with their freedom, making the common white man furious and desperate for work. These men were “seeking to control the freedmen (former slaves)” and decided to enact special law codes (The Southern “Black Codes”). During Andrew Jackson’s lenient term of presidency, many more southern states began to pass these laws between the years of 1865-1866. In an attempt to “regulate the lives of former slaves,” former confederate states “granted blacks certain rights, such as legalized marriage, ownership of property, and limited access to
Free black people of the time period weren’t subject to the restrictions that slaves had to follow. 2. When were slave codes eliminated? All of the slave codes that kept the slaves from disobeying their masters (these codes actually didn’t keep all slaves under control because of the underground railroad and slave revolts.) were eliminated when the 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865, but each state had their own free black laws that included segregation and not being able to vote, but those disappeared with the 14th and 15th Amendments.
Recently, I just read your book, Between and World and Me. I am glad that you spent your time to conduct many types of research and express your thoughts about the equality of rights for black people in the U.S. Being an ancestor of the black freedom movement, I appreciate your efforts of revealing the true living environment of the African American people in this modern society. I think your book offers a different way to look at the concept of American exceptionalism. After viewing your perspectives and comparing them with the late twentieth century, I agree with your rejection of the ideas of American exceptionalism.
The African American experience is one that is quite different from other racial/ ethnic groups. The majority of the first African American came over, unwillingly, on ships from various African countries. They were brought to America by white, European settlers to be used as slaves in an order to plant and harvest their crops and make money for the white man. This racial group was treated as if they were property and not people. However, with the ending of the American Civil War, African Americans gained freedom, freedom that not all white American were quite ready to handle. After gaining their freedom came the need for education, jobs and suffrage rights. Now in America this racial group has come a long way, having elected its first African American present for two terms, yet still there are many issues that are very prevalent. This racial group has been fighting their way to equality since the birth of this nation. African Americans have experienced an array of conflict, violence, stereotypes, prejudice acts, and discrimination against them throughout their history in America.