Slavery Reparations Essay

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Nobody questions the fact that slavery has been the cause of pain for many people and families. What is in question is how to mend this pain. Have the ancestors of American slaves experienced troubles directly resulting from the actions of slavery that deserve reparations? Are the ancestors of slave owners experiencing prosperity that should be redistributed? Although slavery has been illegal in America for 143 years, the controversy over slavery reparations continue to cause controversy to this day. During the 1860’s, slavery was a huge part of life in the South and its effects touch many people and their families. Almost one-third of all Southern families owned slaves (Wright, 1900). Even though slavery was widespread throughout the…show more content…
Wright p.50, Copyright 1900 by Government Printing Office. Not only was slavery a big part of the population but it also made up a big part of the economy. Although the southern states had only 30% of the nation’s free population, it was home to 60% of the nation’s wealthiest men. The per capita income in the South was about $3,978 versus the North at $2,040 according to the Historical Census Browser (2004). Even before the Civil War ended, the Government had seen the need to provide aid for the newly freed slaves. On January 16, 1865, General William Sherman issued a field order to set aside confiscated land for the newly freed slaves (Myers, 2005). This field order, commonly known as field order No. 15, decreed to set aside 400,000 acres of land to be redistributed to the newly free slaves and their families. This land would be divided into 40 acre plots and each of the families would be given one of these plots to live on and do with as they see fit. A later order would also authorize the military to loan each of these families on mule in an effort to help them make a living on this newly acquired land. Sherman, along with the Secretary of War, also met with the community leaders to discuss how these lands would be divided up and many of the other issues that came along with the emancipation of slaves in the south. Four days before the notorious Field Order No. 15, Sherman and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton met with twenty of the Savannah black
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