The Broken Promise of Reconstruction & the Need for Restitution

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Sheldon Teicher
HIST 367
Hunter College
Spring 2013
8 May 2013


The Civil War is the most widely written about event in American history and Reconstruction is the most mis-understood and least appreciated subject within this wider issue. Most people would prefer to escape into the heroic exploits of the battles that were fought than deal with the difficult social problems that the former enslaved population had to deal with.
I am offering this essay since I believe that the African-Americans have been done a great disservice by the Nation. As a people they were forcibly brought to this land, they were
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After twenty years, ordinances legitimizing enslavement were commonplace in almost every colony and the practice had morphed into bondage for life, or more properly, chattel slavery.5 These practices were immoral; they had no place in a respectable society.
The pernicious tendency to view the Africans through the white supremacist lens quickly became dominant and was a concomitant of this chattel slavery. This was punctuated by the knowledge that Europeans were never enslaved while most enslaved people were Africans.6 The skin color of the enslaved became a facile marker that fit in well with the culturally supremacist view of the European colonists. IMPORTATION
In this section I try to show how the African Slave System, after gaining a foothold went on to become the most important part of the economy of the new Nation:
As the profitability of the colonists’ agricultural enterprises quickly rose, it was essential to procure a sufficient number of workers since labor shortages were a constant headache.7 Enslavement of the Indigenous Peoples had become steadily more problematic and by the 1750’s this practice had ceased altogether.8 European workers were both expensive and tended to leave their employers to start plantations of their own, or to return home. Therefore, a more reliable source of economically viable labor became a necessity, and that baleful need coincided with the rise of the Trans- Atlantic Slave Trade from Africa.
This phenomenon was
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