Give Me Liberty

1170 Words Nov 10th, 2013 5 Pages
Give Me Liberty! Give Us Suffrage! “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!” This famous quote used by Patrick Henry during his Virginia Convention speech was the declaration of the many persons who faced injustice and inequality in America. The United States of America was said to be the land of opportunity and prosperity, but opportunity and prosperity for whom? Terms and conditions were not stipulated upon living in or relocating to America that liberty would only be available to those that qualified. Prior to the 1900’s most of America’s population did not enjoy the full blessings of American Liberty. There were many factors during the 19th century that contributed to being afforded and denied American Liberty. While it was easier for …show more content…
Blacks like other citizens of America were considered foreigners in their own country. Black codes were implemented to control black men and women. They were not allowed to vote, or own property. If they did have their own property, it was rented land from former slave owners. In order to keep the vote amongst the white men, they sought to disenfranchise the black man. “However, in order to maintain ascendency amongst the blacks, it was desirable and expedient to keep the negro from voting.” As a result, poll taxes, literacy tests, property qualification and grandfather clauses were applied. If they passed the following tests, they were still denied the right to vote. The Ku Klux Klan’s reign of terror prevented many blacks from voting. Other methods such as manipulation, deliberate theft of ballot boxes and incarceration also prevented blacks from voting. In A History of Suffrage in America, it said, “the real objection to black suffrage was not a dislike of an ignorant electorate, but a keen apprehension that negroes enjoying political power would utterly demoralize the state.” On the contrary, blacks felt although they were free, “slavery was not abolished until the black man has the ballot”. Along with disenfranchisement, came segregation. Black people had to deal with the notion that they were…